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To all who shall see these presents, greeting

February 25th, 2006 by Marcus

The last couple of days I’ve been closely watching the cutting scores for the March 1st promotions. Thursday, the unofficial scores were posted on the Manpower site, and the score was under what I currently have. It looked like I was going to be promoted! The official scores were posted to MCTFS Friday during the day and everything still looked good to go. All I had to wait on was the select grade cycle Friday night to make it official.

This afternoon, I was at work to grab my cell phone charger, and I checked my grade screen in MCTFS. What I saw is exactly what I wanted. I've also written my thoughts on rangefinders on this website.

SELECT GRADE: E4

I am currently selected for promotion to the rank of Corporal! I will be promoted on March 1st, and hopefully Anna will be able to attend to pin the new chevrons to my collar. I’m very excited about the promotion, and hopefull that warrants are ready for the ceremony. 

Oh, forgot to mention I've taken up a side job for this website bestrangefinder.reviews, as a freelance writer sharing my views and recommendations. This wouldn't be possible without an article like this giving me inspiration. Hope you'll visit and let me know what you think, thanks! 

Super Mario Soundboard

February 4th, 2006 by Marcus

Via Digg

Super Mario Brother Synth board, create your own SMB mix of songs and sounds, i just listened to the water level music for 10 minutes….:)

Possibly the greatest thing. Ever.

WaPo publishes letter from JCS

February 2nd, 2006 by Marcus

Note: For the background story, please see WaPo Editorial Cartoon 29 January - Joint Chiefs Respond.

The Washington Post burried the letter from the Joint Chiefs on page A20, but it was published. However, I do applaud them for publishing the letter.

I highly doubt the paper, or even Toles, will respond to the letter, but I would like to see them respond.

I thought I was the only one that had picked up on this yesterday. However, Michelle Malkin got it published as I was getting things together to make my post while being pulled away from the computer by work. Too bad I can’t be a full-time professional blogger, eh?

WaPo Editorial Cartoon 29 January - Joint Chiefs Respond

February 1st, 2006 by Marcus

On 29 January, the Washington Post ran an editorial cartoon by Tom Toles on page B6 that shows the true extent of the liberal bias in the paper. In the cartoon, Tooles showed an Army soldier with amputated arms and legs being attended to by “Dr. Rumsfield.” The soldier’s condition? “Battle hardened.”

The cartoon is completely out of line. Never should a wounded soldier, airman, sailor, or Marine be depicted in an editorial cartoon. I’m completely in favor of free speech, but you can cross the line as this cartoon did. The WaPo should be ashamed for allowing something like that cartoon to run in the paper.

I obtained a scan of the actual letter the Joint Chiefs of Staff are going to send to WaPo from Seamus. To use one of his phrases, he is “one of the good guys.” The letter came in three bitmaps I’ve converted to jpeg format and compiled into one html document. Since I don’t have any decent graphics tools here at work, this will have to do.

I humbly request that any and all bloggers willing to spread the news of this story do so.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention this from the original email Seamus sent. A general grade officer close to the Joint Chiefs said the letter could run in Thursday’s WaPo.

With regard to the Washington Post’s response: They are processing the letter, and anticipate it will be in Thursday’s edition. That is not a guarantee, but a strong likelihood.

Good to go. I’ll be looking for it.

UPDATE 2: Oops, I had a typo in the title. Fixed.

Additional Coverage:
Uncooperative Blogger
Michelle Malkin

H.R. 4437

January 29th, 2006 by Marcus

House Resolution 4437 passed the House on December 16, 2005 by a vote of 239-182. Titled the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, HR 4437 calls for many changes to the way the country currently handles illegal immigrants. Highlights of the bill include physical borders (i.e. fences) with increased surveillance, stiffer penalties for those re-entering after prior removal, DHS and DoD cooperation to reinforce the Border Patrol with military support, and elimination of the “catch and release” program.

Overall, this is a huge step in the right direction. I am in complete support of the fences and cooperation of DHS and DoD cooperation. I would like to see very stiff penalties for those caught smuggling aliens into the country. Something along the lines of hard prison time for Americans and immediate deportation for aliens.

The complete details of the bill are a must read. I also recommend that you contact your Senator expressing your support of this bill.

Longest Spam Email

January 27th, 2006 by Marcus

I was completely blown away by the length of a spam email I got this morning. I found it wildly amusing and just shows the lengths some will go to in the name of spam. Read more in the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico and Illegal Immigration

January 26th, 2006 by Marcus

Brian of The Uncooperative Bloggger reported back on the 15th of January about the Mexican military crossing into United States territory. He had no problem stating exactly what he thought of the situation, and what the United States needs to do.

I am sorry folks but this is unacceptable. We cannot allow the Mexican Army to cross our borders and fire on our Border Agents, or civilians. This scenario just gets worse and worse. We have got to secure our borders, and if we are fighting with the Mexican Army, with or without the Governments permission or knowledge, we have got to treat it like a military problem. We are going to have to deploy troops on the border, and that is all there is to it as far as I am concerned.

No need to apologize, Brian. You are not alone in these feelings at all. I am in complete agreement with you. The United States must take a stand against illegal immigration.

If you are interested in what else Brian has said about this topic, you should check out some other posts on his blog.
Score One for The Minutemen
Mexican Army Crossing the Border while Drug Cartels make Elaborate Tunnels
Mexico Supports Illegal Immigration Again

These are only what he has on his front page. You should check out the rest of his Illegal Immigration category.

Laugh of the Day: Snort Edition

January 18th, 2006 by Marcus

I was reading The Dilbert Blog this afternoon and I ended up laughing so hard I snorted.

I’ve also been called out on the fact that I have not mocked liberals with the same frequency as I have mocked people who happen to be conservative. This is largely because the base requirement for being mocked for your actions is that you must have some actions. Quick, name three things that liberals have done lately!

Regardless of Scott Adams’ politcal beliefs, thats funny.

24 Season 5

January 16th, 2006 by Marcus

I saw the first two episodes of the new season a little late, but I saw them in time for tonight! The show starts in five minutes here on the east coast, so I will talk all about it then.

I just noticed I don’t have a television category. That will be fixed tonight, as well.

UPDATE: Category fixed!

I’m addicted to this show again. I loved the first four seasons, but this one is topping them all. My only complaint is that I am able to guess the threats without much trouble. I wish Fox would make it a little harder to guess. Enough nuclear/biological/chemical threats!

Warning, spoiler about the first four hours below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

I give up, y’all win (hotlinking update)

January 15th, 2006 by Marcus

Well, it happened again. I was only two weeks into the month and I was already over my bandwidth. Hattip to Dad for pointing it out to me. Jon pulled a string or two and got service back to the domain. Thanks, Jon.

This is my official statement of defeat. The Myspace users, the MSN Spaces users, the users of some game in german that I can’t read win. You hotlinked and pirated me into defeat.

I have taken all my art off the domain. I cannot let ignorant people take advantage of me any longer. I may put all my art back up in the future. It will be in very small thumbnail form, but it may be back up.

Macworld 2006 Keynote

January 10th, 2006 by Marcus

It is about 28 minutes until Steve Jobs is scheduled to begin his keynote for this year’s Macworld. A few of the rumors flying about are a new Intel based notebook, FM transmitter in iPods, iLife/Work 06, and others. I don’t own a Mac currently, but I would love to have one. I’m really excited about what Steve could announce today. My main hope is the Intel machines will be low cost. Low cost means I could possibly get one. We shall see.

Meanwhile, the Apple store is offline. No doubt they are getting everything ready for the big announcements.

I’ll be posting portions of the keynote that I see via MacDailyNews. You can see all of MacDailyNews’ coverage at their homepage.

Things are starting to happen. MacRumors.com is updating a lot better than MacDailyNews so I will try to bring updates from both below the fold.

Also note that I’m making changes to how I have this post displayed on the fly as I think of something I like better.

UPDATE 12:42: The keynote is over. Overall, I’m very impressed! It doesn’t look like the cheap laptop I was hoping for came into being, but I may still have to look into getting a Mac. Great job, Steve and Apple.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hotlinking

January 3rd, 2006 by Marcus

I’m having a serious problem as of late. It seems a good deal of MySpace users have found my artwork from each other or search engines and are hotlinking the living crap out of it. This is beyond bad. Some of you may have noticed that I ran over my bandwidth limit for December and the entire site was offline for about five or six days. Granted, my reader count is low at this point, but I do give some of my space and bandwidth to a good friend so that affected her, too. Leanna, I’m so sorry about that.

I thought my hotlinking protection was good to go, but apparently not. Jon (my server space provider) and I looked at the problem and attempted a fix, but it did not work. I did a bit of research through Google and found that by editing my .htaccess I can prevent the problem. I followed the instructions, but it didn’t quite work out. Once I tired to the view the site, I got the beautiful 500 server error. I removed the hotlinking protection lines out of .htaccess, but that still leaves me open to hotlinking.

How can I stop these Internet morons from running my bandwidth dry? I refuse to take my art down because of the stupidity of others. Also, could I sue MySpace and the users for copyright infringement?

UPDATES:

January 3 @ 0836: Jon emailed me saying the host has got it locked down for me. I emailed him back asking what they did. I’ll update again when I get word back.

Buzz words/phrases/crap

December 19th, 2005 by Marcus

I’ve never been a big fan of buzz. My disgust of buzz words and phrases grew out everything getting some sort of word or phrase to describe it. Hearing someone call the internet an “information superhighway” makes my skin crawl. I want to do evil things involving honey and ants to those that mention the “dot-com bubble bust.” The newest that grates on my nerves is Web 2.0.

I’ve been ignorant on the true meaning of Web 2.0 for months, and it was a blissful ignorant. I saw Web 2.0 as another buzz phrase brought into common use as a way to describe something that doesn’t exist, and therefor, not needed. The phrases finally bugged me enough that I Googled a bit and then visited Wikipedia to get a general consensus on the meaning.

Wikipedia - Many recently developed concepts and technologies are seen as contributing to Web 2.0, including weblogs, linklogs, podcasts, RSS feeds and other forms of many to many publishing; social software, web APIs, web standards, online web services, Ajax, and others.

Perhaps my initial hatred for the phrase came from my lack of understanding. I didn’t understand it at first because some of the biggest “Web 2.0 features” are blogging, podcasts, and RSS. I started blogging just after it became wildly popular on the web, but before the MSM grabbed it by the throat and made it a four letter word among many internet users. These things have been part of my browsing style for a good amount of time, and now seeing a phrase applied to it makes it feel plain dirty.

Applying a version number to something like the internet is just plain foolish. Do we have Telephone 2.0? How about TV 7.4 beta? No, we don’t. Over the years the changes made to the telephone and television have been just like the ones being made to the internet now. Technology has gone from operator connected calls and black and white TV to phone numbers and digital cable/satellites, yet we have just plain telephone and TV. Now internet technology is advancing just like the telephone and television before it. Leave the version number off.

The internet is changing, and the change is so far good. Once people realize that calling it Web 2.0 is retarded, we’ll be better off. However, the internet is in serious trouble by those that provide your access. More on that at a later date.

What If?

December 16th, 2005 by Marcus

I sat at my desk today during lunch and as usual, I was browsing the web. Only today was slightly different from normal.

I feel the urge to sometimes check on what those on the left are saying. Today’s urge was inspired by the story of President Bush giving the go ahead on the use of torture. I haven’t even read the stories because, quite frankly, I don’t believe it matters. We are at war, and anything goes when it comes to the enemy that doesn’t wear a uniform or carry a flag. I digress.

Seeing all the demands of “impeach him now!” and “we have to win in 08!” got me thinking. What happens if a Democrat wins in 2008? Will it be one that has screamed for us to back out of Iraq? Will it be one that states we never should have gone in? Will it be one that is screaming and never wanted us in? What if?

I then remembered the site of people attempting to apologize to the world because America elected George W. Bush to a second term. I think the particular site is pure and utter crap so I’m not going to link them. You really should take a second to thank God if you don’t already know the site. What if the next president follows suit with those jokers and issues an apology to the world for the War on Terror that we’ve been involved in since 2001?

Not only will America’s reputation of the defenders of freedom be forever ruined, we will look like fools. One of the biggest keys to America’s superpower status is our ability to conduct smooth transitions with change only on a lesser scale. I can’t think of one time in our history that a newly elected president has come in and changed the biggest policy a past administration used for almost two terms. In doing this, the next administration would doom America.

What if a Republican wins in 2008? Will the War on Terror continue on the same course? I honestly don’t see us finishing the job in the next two years, although we will be much closer. Will the Republican stick it out until the Iraqis have a strong enough government and military to take care of themselves? If he is smart and wants another term he will.

The next two years is going to be the real key to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and that in turn will be the key to the following four years.

I’m back. . .again

September 12th, 2005 by Marcus

For those of you who still check the blog or still have me in your RSS feeds, I would like to say thanks for sticking with me over the last seven months. I’ve come off ASP Guard and I’m working in my old office. This means I have normal working hours and can keep better track of what is going on the world.

I’m not sure if I’ll be the blogger I once was. For a time, that was pretty much all I did. Work is much busier than before and I spend a lot of time with Anna after work. We’ll give blogging a shot and see how it goes.

More on CPL

July 16th, 2005 by Marcus

Christ Short is telling another story about the CPL over at Our Life. This story is from an anonymous source he is calling Quincy. Keep checking Our Life about the CPL as I see this is going to get bigger and bigger.

Growing up in a cult

July 11th, 2005 by Marcus

Chris posted a very interesting article over at Our Life over the weekend about growing up in a cult. In his article, he exposes a group here in North Carolina and the numerous lies they have told and are telling. This is certainly worth a look.

Current rumor

June 29th, 2005 by Marcus

The current rumor going around my old unit is I will be leaving the ASP Guard at the begining of July. In keeping with Marine Corps traditions, I’ll be the last to know and it will be a last minute decision.

The reason they’re needing me back is pretty simple. Alain (who picked up Sgt not too long ago) is about to get out. The LCpl they got to take my job over is going to the 24 MEU. That leaves my old office completely empty. It would be a better idea to pull me out of the ASP instead of getting yet another person to head into the land of ISC.

Do I really want to leave the guard? Not really. I enjoy working nights and not dealing with some of the stupid stuff of GCAC. I have about a year left until I’ll be going on terminal leave and if they so choose to leave me on the guard until that time, I won’t complain.

We’ll see what happens.

Batman Begins review

June 19th, 2005 by Marcus

They told me there was nothing out there, nothing to fear. But the night my parents were murdered I caught a glimpse of something. I’ve looked for it ever since. I went around the world, searched in all the shadows. And there is something out there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will not stop until it gets revenge. Me.

I saw Batman Begins today and I’m definitely impressed. The biggest thing I noticed right off is Gotham no longer looks like it is out of a Stephen King circus. All of the buildings look normal, there are normal cars (except for the Batmobile but when has it ever been normal?), and there wasn’t any crazy clown make-up.

This film definitely puts Bruce’s life into perspective. You see what lead up to the death of his parents and a better explanation of how he found the caves under Wayne Manor. The film also tracks Bruce through his learning of the martial arts and the first Batsuit, which looks killer.

My biggest complaint about the film is the Tumbler. The thing is absolutely huge and not really something I would to drive around. Sure its awesome and could blow through pretty much anything that is put in it’s way, but it just doesn’t have that Batman feel to it. I would have preferred something that looked a bit like the Batmobile from the 1989 Batman movie.

The CGI in the film is also pretty good. It was rare that I was able to look at something and think that it was a horrible graphics job.
The plot line revolves around Bruce and becoming Batman rather than there is someone threatening Gotham and Bruce has to stop them. Yes, there is a threat to Gotham, but it built strongly on who Bruce is other than distracting from it.

Christopher Nolan did a great job directing this film. I will put a lot of confidence in saying this is the greatest directed Batman movie.

Christian Bale did a great job playing Bruce/Batman. His Batman voice was a little raspy, but I think it fit rather well considering he is playing a young Bruce/Batman. He also stared in Equilibrium, which was a great flick itself.

Michael Caine’s portrayal of Alfred was outstanding. Alfred was much more down to earth and seemed more like an uncle to Bruce, rather than a butler. The comedy in this film was very low key, but it was all Alfred.

Liam Neeson was a great, and unexpected, villain. Instead of trying to be a funny villain like the previous Batman movies he was very serious and came across as a man wanting to do good, but is misguided. His performance was top notch.

Katie Holmes surprised me in this film. I was expecting her to perform sub par, but I was gratefully wrong. She wasn’t a bimbo there to be eye candy and gave the film a great deal of emotion.

Gary Oldman plays Jim Gordon in a pre-commissioner role. The film does a good job of showing how Batman and Gordon’s relationship started.

Cillian Murphy’s role as Dr. Jonathan Crane wasn’t as good as I expected, but also wasn’t horrible. Had his villain side been further used, I believe his performance would have been outstanding.

Overall I thought Batman Begins was a great flick. The acting wasn’t cheesy, the plot fit into the whole Batman series, and it took Batman into the realm of believable. As with the 1989 Batman, I wouldn’t take kids under 13 to see it. I had a couple of eight year olds behind me and I had to say ssshhh several times. The violence factor in this film is a bit higher than those in the past, but it isn’t particularly bloody. This will be one of the better films of the summer.

Take me out to the ballgame

June 15th, 2005 by Marcus
Turner Field and Atlanta Fulton County Stadium
Turner Field and Atlanta Fulton County Stadium from Google Maps.
Click image for larger view.

I really want to go see a game this year!