Book Review – Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War

After about six weeks, I finally finished reading Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, the memoir of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Normally, I would be able to get through a book like this quickly, but the narrative of the story jumped around a bit. Gates decided that the best way to tell the story was around certain themes – the Iraq War, budget fights, jet-setting around the country, etc – instead of simply telling a chronological story. It was a bit hard too follow at times, with situations occurring at multiple times based on the theme of that particular chapter.

For example, he went to many countries multiple times, but things discussed at these meetings could be found at different points in his narrative. “Since this chapter is about butterflies, this was the time I talked to Karzai about butterflies.” – Three chapters later – “Remember that story about Karzai and butterflies? Well, at that same meeting a little later, we talked about unicorns and leprechauns. It probably would have been easy to mention it then because of logical flow, but this chapter is about unicorns so it fits better here.” Continue reading

Unfinished Business – Chapter One

In the first post in this series, I talked about my reasons why I am considering rejoining the Army Reserves, and since it is a month later, I figured it would be a good time to update what is going on…which isn’t really a whole lot at this point.

Shortly after my previous post, I found an e-mail attached to the Army Reserve Career Counselor’s responsible for Direct Commissions. After some e-mails back and forth clarifying what I was actually asking about, I was passed on to the Career Counselor responsible for my geographic region… who I didn’t hear from for about three weeks. After finally getting around to responding to my initial query, it turns out that the person that I will eventually need to talk to is yet another career counselor. I guess it is my fault for trying to be so proactive, and seeing as how I can’t really start the process for a little while (more on that in a minute), I don’t blame them for pushing me off until later, especially when I’m sure that they have other work to do. It was just a nice reminder of how things work in the Reserves sometime.

The only other thing that really occurred in the past month is a visit I had with a former Army colleague while I was in California on spring break. When the fiance and I arrived in Anaheim, my good friend Alberto reached out and wanted to get lunch. I had forgotten that he was in Anaheim, literally a few minutes from where we were staying, so we delayed a day in Disneyland to meet him for lunch. It was really good to see him, and I was reminded that he was one of the many good people that I met during my time in the Reserves. Continue reading

A Disappointing End to a Decent Show

NOTE: If you plan on watching the How I Met Your Mother finale and haven’t done so yet, you might not want to read this as it is about my feelings about the ending of the show. You’ve been warned.

I suppose when a television show is on the air for nine seasons, people have a certain reaction to it, regardless of how “critically acclaimed” a show actually is. We saw this last week after How I Met Your Mother, a staple on CBS’ Monday night lineup since September 2005, ended its run, and we meet the mother. Technically, we met the mother with in the final scene of the previous season, but Ted Mosby and the mother, Tracy McConnell, have kids, get married (in that order), and in a “twist” ending that most people probably saw coming, Ted’s children realize the story is not really about how he met their mother, but instead a device to ask his now teenage children if it was okay to start dating “Aunt Robin,” because, as viewers found out two minutes prior, the poor mother died of “sad hospital scene disease.”

Before I expand on five of the issues that I had with the way the show ended, I would like to point out that HIMYM is not a show I watched from the beginning, nor is it one that I consider to be a great show. Of the shows currently on television that I watch, it is just outside the top ten. Had I not had hours upon hours of time to kill in Iraq in 2010, with ready access to all the previous seasons, I probably wouldn’t have ever watched the show. It’s not a terrible show either, but it is procedural and on a network that doesn’t view its audience as knowing what should be funny.* Continue reading

Why I Love Kim and Will Be Marrying Her Soon

I follow WordPress.com on Twitter, and today’s writing prompt led me to sit down and write this while I was sitting in the airport waiting to fly back to Chicago after a fun-filled vacation with Kim, my girlfriend since last May…or at least she was my girlfriend when we left Illinois last Friday. However, during our brief stay in Las Vegas, she became something more, the woman that I will spend the rest of my life with, the woman who will be the mother to my future children, and the woman that brings me the most joy.

Now, as many suspected and even mentioned, we did not get married in Vegas, though the thought had crossed my mind. At this point in our lives, I don’t think there is much need for a long courtship, and my time with her over the past 10 months has been nothing short of wonderful. I decided to “pop the question,” asking her to marry me and become my wife, something that I suspect will happen not long after we figure out where I will be working once I finish school in May. Continue reading