Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nightmares of Katrina 2

Army National Guard units belong to two masters. They are part of the US Army, but they also belong to their state and must obey the lawful orders of their governor.

When a National Guard unit gets sent on a federal mission (to Afghanistan for instance) they are alerted months ahead of time (usually), sometimes at weekend "drill." When a unit gets put on state active duty the alert is usually a phone call, in my case it has always been when I was at work. Some one calls you and tells you that you have a certain number of hours to report to the armory.

Usually there is some event that you are watching closely and hoping that you won't be needed, won't be called. I've been on state active duty for riot control, flood abatement and hurricane relief. Every time when the phone rang I knew exactly what it was.

When I was called up for Katrina there were only a handful of us that had the early call. LTC John (then MAJ John) was already at the armory when I arrived. He had actually been there a day before I had to report, but he didn't go with us on that faithful drive south, into the storm ravaged land.

We would have reported to our home armory on North Avenue and Kedzie Avenue in Chicago, in the corner of Humboldt Park. The armory was built in the 1930s when America had thought they had seen the last of war, thought that National Guard service was all fun and games. It was years before the shock and horror of Pearl Harbor, and a millennium separated from the devastation wrought on our own land on a sunny day in September.

On the sunny day in September which I was to report our armory was closed for some badly needed repairs. Walls and ceilings were being rebuilt, windows replaced, electricity and phone lines run. The things they found, bricked away for decades would be another story. For this one, we reported to the armory at the North Riverside Maintenance Center and Training Site.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nightmares of Katrina

You know, it's hard to believe that Huricane Katrina hit LA, MS and AL just over four years ago.

I was called into active duty to help with the victims. I left Chicago with the advanced party from my Illinois Army National Guard unit (108th Sustainment Bde) just two days after Katrina had plowed through the gulf states.

We drove a hummer down and I ended up spending all of September 2005 at a Louisana Air National Guard Base in a suburb of New Orleans called Belle Chasse.

We had only been back from our deployment in Afghanistan since April 2005. In fact we were the most recently deployed unit sent there (besides the LANG units who were recalled from Iraq to come home and help).

There were things I saw there that I had never seen before, strange things that boggle my mind and keep me up at night. I think I may be far enough removed from the events to relay them to you know. I'm not sure, but we'll see. I'll write the stories to you in the next couple of posts, if I can manage it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Investigator Marshall Team 199

This is the first scene of a story I just started working on. I've been thinking about it a bit, and a recent L&O, CI got me to thinking about my Dad's carreer as a Chicago Cop. BTW 199 was his Captain star number in the CPD.

"I don't think you're particularly wanted here Marshall." Vega Iggallos folded her massive arms and looked down at the uniformed man.

The holographic face on the blue and red box on the man's left lit up and turned to the Amazon, "Technically, his title is Senior Investigator, and his name is Harris Cerwin, Leader Iggallos."

"That is KUC-42-LAGY, or Lagy for short, and this is EJB-82-RECO or Reco for short, and they are the only things I'm senior to. You're world is a signatory of the Asteroid Belt Conglomeration Accord, gaining the benefit and burden of the Conglomeration Security Marshalls."

Iggallos' neck veins pulsed and the overdeveloped muscles in her jowls tensed. "We expected that the Marshalls would police the SPACE between worlds. The whole point of ninety percent of the worlds in the Belt is for the people of those worlds to live the way the want without the interference or judgment of others."

Cerwin, in his formal navy blue uniform betrayed no fear of the woman who stood twice his height and six times his mass. Neither his firearm nor his uniform provided any real protection, the knobots who were his partners were some protection, but it was really his knowledge that a calm demeanor, reason, and dedication to purpose were enough to persuade all but the furthest gone psychopath.

Showing no fear and having no fear were two very different things though. Cerwin had to fight hard to hide the fear in his throat and the pounding of his heart. His efforts to meet the intensity of the Leader of the Amazons with his own cold, professional, law enforcement intensity were hampered not only by her overwhelming power, but also by the fact that Iggallos wore only a loin cloth, and despite her muscles she was the most feminine person he had met in over a year. In fact, she was absolutely a stone cold hottie.

Her skin and hair were perfect, her muscles, though massive were well proportioned and gently curving rather than angular. Her face, far above his, if he could see past her massive, naked chest, was heart shaped with natural color and a button nose that managed to somehow seem not incongruous with the size of the rest of her. There were some Amazons who looked like a badly cropped photo of a model's head onto a male bodybuilder's body, but not Iggallos. Her blue-green eyes sparkled from her lovely face, even when she was at her most intimidating, like when she was staring down the new Marshall sent from "The Glom."

"Ms Iggallos, I did not choose to come here, nor, I assure you, did the Marshall Service intend to interfere with internal governmental functioning. My presence here, as with most single Investigator Marshall Team's is to provide additional resources for you use and to ensure that Conglomeration are upheld."

"What was that noise?" Cewin turned toward the apparent sound of gunfire.

"Rifle fire." Reco stated, Lagy concurred instantly. Iggallos looked embarrassed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Busy Busy

I just had to check in because I said I would, but an avalanche of work has fallen on me at work, we're remodeling our entire first floor, the girls have volleyball, I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wife to murder, and Guilda to frame for it, I'm swamped.

I'll have more tomorrow because it's Friday, but I'm thinking about: female detective set in a fiction town of Ecophilopolis (known as Dam City), a middle aged male detective who solves crime during lunch time at a big business, and a Solar System Marshall who solves crimes in the Asteroid Belt with his two companion "kno-bots."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NaNo or No NaNo

I've done NaNoWriMo four times now and actually managed to "finish" my novel twice. Both times I got to the required 50,000 word count which qualifies as finishing, but both times I got to about 40,000 words and had to truncate the end so I could finish on time. They should have probably been 75 or 100k novels.

SO, they both need heavy editing, which I was never really very good at, and it never really moved me to spend a lot of time on.
I know the responsible among you will say, "Don't write another one until you fix the ones you have," or something along those lines, but I just can't bring myself to spend that kind of time to disassemble and reassemble those novels.
So that's not on the table as a choice.
Table, what table? Well, I'm putting up a poll and I'm going to let my visitors decide whether or not I should attempt NaNoWriMo this time or not. I know some of you are more aware of my schedule situation than others, but that's fine. Sometimes it is the busiest people who are the busiest because they can get the most done.
The poll will be a simple Yes or No, but PLEASE feel free to add comments on the posts as we go along.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumnal Equinox

Happy Autumnal Equinox everybody!

I've been remiss in posting here and I think it's one of those snowball things. I didn't post for a while, then I was too embarrassed to post with out something meaningful to say, then I had some good stuff to say but I didn't have time to type them up well. You know the story.

With Autumn upon us, it is almost Cthulhu month, so you know I'll be posting daily then, but I think it may be more of a habit thing. I need to get into the habit of posting, then it will work better.

One of my colleagues here at work took the day off for Autumnal Equinox. He said he was just going to walk around. I like that idea. Every now and then my Dad would take us out of school and we would go for a walk in the forest preserves. He said that sometimes it was more important to have days like that than to be in school. In retrospect, these days may have been after particularly harrowing days at work (he was a Chicago Cop), but I only remember them as great little hikes, usually in the fall.

I really like the idea of communing with nature that way, just getting out and being. I try to remember and observe the solstices and equinoxes because I think in modern life we have alienated ourselves so much from nature that we forget that if the sun and earth didn't play nice this way, none of us would be here. School starts well before Labor Day and ends with no regard to Memorial Day (the traditional bookends of summer around where I live) and work just goes on and on with absolutely no regard to season, day or night, we'll just adjust the HVAC and Daylight Savings Time. The celestial holidays are REAL. We can hide in our buildings and ignore them, but they are happening, and we should pay attention.

That's Demeter in the picture, by the way, the goddess of the harvest. In Greek mythology this is the day that her daughter Persephone returns to the underworld and her husband Hades for the winter months. It was sort of a plea bargain after Hades kidnapped Persephone was that he would share her with Demeter, thus giving us the seasons.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tomorrow Is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Get Ready!

My pirate name is:
Iron William Roberts
A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Two things complete your pirate persona: style and swagger. Maybe a little too much swagger sometimes -- but who really cares? Arr!
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