23,803 Miles, Sarawak, and Home Again

It’s exactly 6 AM and I’ve been wide awake for almost two hours. The sun isn’t up and I’m already on my second cup of coffee. Since I’ve returned I’ve been waking up earlier than usual so I might as well be productive. I’m starting to like the morning.

View from my hotel room. Kuching, Malaysia.

My last transmission was on the 4th of March. I was across the Pacific in Okinawa, Japan. I was living in a bare barracks room with horrible internet and hideous decor. I spent most of my free time smoking cigars, drinking beer, and getting reacquainted with Dostoevsky. It rained a lot. That warm, humid, Japanese rain. Miserable.

In the past three months I’ve flown 23,303 miles. First moving from Japan to California. Then being sent back to Japan for work for a few weeks. After that I spent a bit over one month in Kuching, State of Sarawak, Malaysia. Now I’m finally home.

Moving my entire life across the Pacific is a surreal experience. Leaving a place, an entire country, an entire culture, and way of life is jarring and hard to describe.

In February I flew my family to our new home in California. I only stayed with them for two weeks then back to Okinawa to catch up with my coworkers so I could go on a project in Malaysia. It’s been weird coming home because when I arrived back in California what I’m calling home is more foreign to me than Sarawak. After all I only lived in my current house for a few days but spent the better part of two months living in a hotel room in Kuching.

Land of the White Rajahs

When I was out in the jungle my coworkers would talk about back home. It was strange because I didn’t really know anything about back home except what my wife described to me.

I got back on the 14th of April. Catching up, carving out my place, getting acquainted with the furniture. I have a new desk. New couches, new bed. Bought a grill, some patio furniture, domestic stuff so we can enjoy the California summer.

The weather in California is nice. Growing up here I took it for granted until we lived in Japan. California weather is just right, a bland nice. After the 95 degree 90% humidity of Sarawak I like the niceness. But I do miss the jungle.

This past Thursday was my 36th birthday. I was born in 1983. Off the top of my head Ronald Reagan was president, David Bowie and Phil Collins ruled the radio and everyone wore hideous clothes. Of course I had no idea because I was just born and living behind the Iron Curtain. It was a good birthday.

I’m reading Barry Hanna, my coffee is cold, and my battery is low.

Final Preparations

In eight days our small family will be leaving Yokosuka, Japan, flying across the Pacific Ocean, and beginning the next phase of our lives.  Last Friday movers came to pack and pick up our furniture and personal items. This coming Friday we will turn in the keys to our house.

Mt. Fuji from the lakes.

As of now my wife and I are living in a hotel room with the baby and the dog. Quinn, the dog, fancies herself a professional guard dog and has decided to bark every time someone walks outside our room. The cramped and hectic situation is not very conductive to writing. Not to mention all of our free time is spent preparing for our flight and tying up loose ends.

Living in Japan has been a fantastic adventure and I’m thankful for the opportunity to experience such an interesting and unique culture first hand. I’m going to miss being out here. But, I’m ready to move on and make new memories and take part in new adventures.

During this chaotic time I am trying my best to stay focused on diet and exercise. I’ve been hitting the gym daily and staying on top of my calorie count. I’m checking in to a deployable command and want to hit the ground running.

I’m also catching up on reading, specifically focused on history and conservative philosophy.

Expect a lot of posts on those topics in the near future.

Barbarian Book Club: 10 October 2018 Operational Report

  • img_20181007_162836_808956119070.jpgLife has been a whirlwind of activity. Taking care of a newborn is a lot more difficult than I expected. I figured that after a bit of holding and talking to she would gracefully recline in her baby seat and relax politely while I kept busy reading and writing. Unfortunately, she would rather do her best imitation of a Stuka dive bomber every single time she gets put down. So, I’ve managed to get very little done in the writing department.
  • My goal was to submit a story to Cirsova on the 1st but that didn’t happen. Between the baby, visitors from the U.S. I’m escorting around, and a hectic work schedule that had me pulling 6 day work weeks, my writing has trickled down to almost nothing. I’m usually so tired at night that I can barely focus on reading.
  • I’m working on re-evaluating my daily routine, my procrastination level, cutting out distractions, etc. so I can focus on reading and writing in my spare time. I’m also going to up the writing on here. I’ve done most of my updates and discussions over on G+ but with that platform disintegrating I’m going to bring back a lot of my writing to a more personal level.
  • I’m doing a lot of history reading specifically military history, both for personal enjoyment and for my future long-term writing project I plan on starting soon.
  • Still hitting the Iron Temple, lifting several times per week.

Some Books Read

SolomonKaneThe Savage Tales of Solomon Kane by Robert Howard collects all of Howard’s Solomon Kane tales. I’m really like the idea of a Puritan Paladin going around righting wrongs and slaying evil creatures. The stories themselves are a lot more rough around the edges compared to his later Conan tales but are still fantastic. I prefer the stories that take place in Europe over the longer African jungle ones. I like the rapier fiction reminiscent of The Three Musketeers. Inferior to the fantastic Horror Tales of Robert Howard, but worth the read.

Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb. I’ve mentioned here numerous times that I think Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series is hands down the best modern fantasy out there. She’s a master of characterization, writing slow, thoughtful novels that I enjoy on an emotional level unmatched by a lot of fiction I read. Fool’s Errand is the first book in the third trilogy, and it returns to the life of Fitzchivalry Farseer fifteen years after the end of the first trilogy. It’s a dark, sorrowful, and touching return to the characters I loved. I’m currently on book two and have to take it one chapter at a time because it tends to leave me sentimental due to the themes of friendship, aging, and parenthood. targetrichenviroment

Target Rich Environment by Larry Correia I like short story collections and I enjoy some of Larry Correia’s writing but this one was a bit of a disappointment. With one or two exceptions I just found these dull and uninspired.

 

 

Life Update 29July18

July has been a busy month. We are getting used to and learning how to do the whole parenting thing. It’s difficult, frustrating, exhausting, but oh so worth it when I get to hold her and she smiles. Of course, as soon as she does she also rips a heavy fart or spits up all her milk. alexjune2

Work is also sucking up a lot of my time and energy. I was given a new leadership position that takes a lot of effort and compounds my tasks on top of an already busy daily schedule. Any other time I would have considered this an exciting promotion but with a newborn at home and my tour coming to a close I find the whole thing burdensome and inconvenient. Luckily I have some great people working with me that are giving me a hand and keeping me motivated.

Writing

Not a lot in this department. I’m currently working on a short story, a post-apocalyptic gonzo type story inspired by Wild West frontier fiction, specifically Ernest Haycox’s Stage to Lordsburg. Besides that, I started work on a long-term project, right now I’m researching so I have a lot of books piled up waiting for me to have the time to read and take notes.

Keeping up with the Science Fiction and Fantasy world I dabbled in reading about the Worldcon stupidity this year. It just cements the fact that the professional SFF world is a constant dumpster fire and I want nothing do to with it. Bunch of losers.

Reading:

Finishing Robin Hobbs Liveship Trader’s Trilogy I decided to keep going with her Elderlings series and read through The Tawny Man Trilogy. I powered through Fool’s Errand which was fantastic but it kicked my ass when it came to emotional scenes. Now I’m halfway through the second book, Golden Fool, and reading a few chapters nightly.

alexjune3.jpgBesides the big novels, I’m reading a collection of Louis L’Amour short stories, a bunch of cool stuff indie stuff that I will reveal and review soon, and all the usual non-fiction articles and history that comes across my way.

Weightlifting:

Had a bit of a drop in my schedule, gotta admit it’s hard to stay motivated when you are getting only two to three uninterrupted hours at night followed by a ten-hour workday filled with annoying people. But now I’ve settled into the routine and managed to complete an entire week and get a short run in yesterday. The Navy physical fitness test is coming up in September or October so that means I need to start up my running, situps, and pushups so I can score an outstanding and get back to lifting for the rest of the year. I haven’t checked my maxes in a while, so once I hit four uninterrupted weeks I will recalculate and compare to my annual goal.

 

Juniper

Juniperart

 

June arrived on Sunday. She’s beautiful and amazing. I’m still reeling from the experience of becoming a father and having a bit of a tough time putting the whole thing into words.