(no subject)
Deep One
zadok_allen


The 4th Generation Warfare Handbook is a text written for a command-level military audience and assumes that modern era insurgencies and terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram are a new form of warfare that replaces large, mechanized armies. It suggests that 4GW is a "new" form of warfare that is emerging in history, with line and formation warfare being Gen 1 (medieval, Civil War), attrition warfare being Gen 2 (WWI, artillery), and Gen 3 being maneuver warfare (Yamamoto, Scwarzkopf). One problem in the book that I didn't see answered is that insurgencies, rebellions, and guerrilla warfare have existed long before the author's presumption of it as the "new" normal. I was also hoping that this would be more of a historical and how-to text. It was instead written as a strategy, tactics, and theory text for Army officers at the Colonel level and above. Lastly and perhaps the biggest turn-off: a chapter in which the author manufactures an imaginary conversation in which a 4GW student patronizingly explains the theory to a skeptical superior. The conversation is obviously an imagined lecture, but it's presented as an encounter that is being recollected; no disclaimer is given. It's probably just bad editing, but it came off as a falsehood.

Ballard's The Drowned World is a global warming post apocalypse story. In this setting the world's animals and plants mutate swiftly to Jurassic-sized monsters, and humans as well begin to regress to a more violent, animalistic state. The novel makes a lot of hay over whether this change the characters experience is a physical response to the environment or an indulgence of the darker aspects of their personalities in the absence of hope and a future. There was a significant Heart of Darkness influence that I grew tired of pretty quickly. I'd have preferred more giant lizards, dragonflies and bats, and a little less nihilistic navel gazing.
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(no subject)
Deep One
zadok_allen


Melmoth the Wanderer is an 19th century 600-pager that I picked up because it was one of H.P. Lovecraft's favorites. The basic premise is a Faustian bargain that leaves a man's ghosts wandering the earth, mentally and emotionally torturing hapless victims. And Melmoth puts a lot of work into it too - he ruins their lives for decades and manufactures some impressively complex schemes to do it. The problem with the book is it's interminable length. I've noticed a lot of authors around this time period have incredibly long works - I can only presume it was some sort of dick-measuring custom that was common among authors of this era. The other issue with Melmoth was the use of commas. Serious love affair:

In silent horror she proceeded, till Melmoth, pointing to a dusky and indefinite mass of what, in the gloom of night, bore, according to the eye or the fancy, the shape of a rock, a tuft of trees, or a massive and unlighted building, whispered, "There is the ruin, and near it stands the hermitage, - one moment more of effort, - of renewed strength and courage, and we are there."

If you're counting, that's 14 commas in one sentence. It's pretty difficult to read when starting, but I eventually got used to it - not enough to recommend this book, though.

My dad loaned me The Pacific because he enjoyed it. I sent him the DVD set as well. It's an important book because of the lack of first-hand documentation of much of that war, and this collection covers battles between warships, aircraft, and infantry. Another unique feature is that it manages to intertwine the personal stories of five men over most of the major battle grounds - Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Bataan, Okinawa, and Midway. The style of writing isn't the most memorable of all the war accounts I've read, but the research alone is enough for the book to stand on.
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OMG, like, call 911
firetruck
zadok_allen


Classic symptom of hyperventilation.
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gungasm
braaiinnss...
zadok_allen


How awesome is it that the shovel AK makes an appearance in Fallout 4? Scope mount, charging handle and safety are all on the wrong side but if you're building it from scratch who cares what side it goes on? It's the apocalypse!
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Carya glabra
Secrets of the Sith
zadok_allen


Pops and I on the way to cut down a snagged hickory.

(no subject)
Secrets of the Sith
zadok_allen

Went to my folks' place for a few days to help them clear brush from the treeline near the house. All of that brown area was full of mostly 1-3" polar saplings and greenbriar, both of which grow amazingly fast. Poplar is very soft so the wood isn't good for much except food for dad's tractor-mounted wood chipper. All of this will grow back in a year or two if it isn't kept down, but in the meantime that little 4' cedar in the center of the pic that is suddenly finding itself bathed in sunlight is gonna get fat and beautiful.



It seems like the deer are huge out here compared to the ones I see in town, and maybe these acorns have something to do with it. These things will make you want to wear a hardhat in the woods. Baby turtle for scale.

(no subject)
Secrets of the Sith
zadok_allen


My parents officially figured out butternut squash this year. They must have set out some annex plantings because this can't possibly have all come from the two 10x15 raised beds they had for squash. I'm gonna head up there for a visit in a couple weeks and do some recipe experiments. Suggestions welcome!

feeding the neighbors
Secrets of the Sith
zadok_allen


I planted dill for the first time this year and was pleasantly surprised to see that it grows great from seed. I was also excited to see that the swallowtails found it immediately; I figured it would take a few years of planting dill before they showed up; heck, I've been planting tomatoes for a decade and still haven't see a hornworm.

Anyways, my only choice now is to plant enough to share. Since I pretty much ignored my vegetables this year (didn't even use the dill for pickles) I'm gonna focus on turning the garden into butterfly habitat - dill, milkweed, Joe Pye weed, coneflowers, hyssop, etc. I'll still have plenty of room on the edges for tomatoes. I've never had much luck direct sowing wildflowers but I've been pretty laissez-faire about how I did it - grab a pack of seeds, stick 'em in the dirt, see if they take. I'll give them a little more care this time but I still want perennials that don't require a lot of babying. Wish me luck!
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I promise to make a non-geek post soon...
Deep One
zadok_allen


But this was too good to not share - a paper mache Beholder piñata made by one of my college nerd-buddies for one of our other friends, for that friend's surprise birthday party. It was filled with candy, plastic minis, and d20s.

We're trying to make these get-togethers an annual affair since we all moved to different corners of the state after college. Last year was an Air BnB in the Outer Banks and this year it was a little cottage near the York River. Basically a weekend of D&D, board and video games, drinking beer and grilling burgers.



Oh my gosh, look at that wizard. And he's making the sign of the beast!
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more nerdcred
Deep One
zadok_allen


This is actually worth using during play, though a person could just as easily use the app on their phone without the prop. Pausing a game in the middle of combat always creates problems for immersion in a video game, so I use the Pipboy most often by leaving the "Aid" screen up, and then when I need to replenish health during combat I just take cover somewhere and use the Pipboy instead of pausing the game and going into the inventory menu to find Squirrel Bits and Stimpaks. It's also quicker because I don't have to scroll through dozens of Aid items; I can just leave them pulled up on the Pipboy. The other two items I use most often are the minimap and the fast travel map, which also keep me from having to pause the game.

The amount of content in games these days is insane. I was only a 1/3 of the way through Elder Scrolls Online when I picked up Fallout 4, have barely touched Star Wars Battlefront or Destiny, and now the second Titanfall is coming out...
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