wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
One of the things I want to get done for the benefit of my kids, my nieces and various friends is a small online museum showing what Bolling AFB looked like from 1969-1976, because it's changed a lot since then and is almost unrecognizable to me now. Sure, most of the major landmarks like the old hangars and the 1100th Air Base Wing building by the main entrance are still there, but what I remember (among other things) are the vast expanses of land where the runways used to be and the tracts of WW2-era "temporary" buildings were the DIA building is now. It gave the base a more open feel, a sense of wide open spaces in the middle of the city.

I also remember a lot of other buildings that aren't there any more, some of which were torn down (or dug up) even before I left the area in 1979. The ammo bunkers by the Navy gate, the old commissary/PX building, the old NCO club and its pool, the tiny library over by the AP station...and all the temporary buildings wedged in here and there around the base. Looking at the map these days is almost like looking at some foreign land; many of the landmarks I used to know are gone, and some of the streets have been renamed. Well, as Dad said once when I was complaining that my godfather had rebuilt my godmother's house on Laurel Avenue to his own satisfaction, you can't expect people to live in a museum. True enough. But there ought to be some record of the way it was, somewhere; and if Jim Lileks can manage to record terabytes of information about the way Minneapolis used to be, surely I can spend some time doing the same for Bolling. I never was an actual resident of the place, in the sense that my Dad never had quarters there, but I could make a good argument that I lived there more than anywhere else for a good part of my childhood.
wombat_socho: Wombat (unhappy)
For those of you not already notified, [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye died at 1353 this afternoon, literally seconds after P and I arrived at his hospital room and got all gowned & gloved.
That wasn't on the schedule. )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
The Bleat.:
You know what I remember about the mid-to-late 70s? People had given up hope. It was just all downhill from here.

Don’t get that now. Not yet.


This is almost a throwaway line in a longer Bleat post about Mad Men and the original BBC version of Life on Mars. Lileks perfectly captures the mood of America in the 1970s, though. I was there and I say he nailed it good. Nothing in American life was good or winning or on the upswing, it seemed. We were getting bled to death by a bunch of pajama-clad savages in Southeast Asia because the Army, our Army that had gone from victory to victory since anyone could remember, had completely flubbed this guerrilla war thing and then lied about it. Our cities were still smoldering from the race riots of the 1970s. The mainline Protestant churches and the Catholic church were seemingly disintegrating right before our eyes. Our captains of industry were being humbled by the Japanese, The Arabs had turned off the oil taps in pique because our spunky little ally Israel had just wiped the floor with them for the third time in thirty years after being caught by surprise, The government was run by a bunch of thugs. Everything was fucked, everybody sucked, 

The big difference now is that the ruling class doesn't own the means of information any more. People can see past the refusal of the lamestream media to cover the news it deems damaging to the ruling class. People can get the news from someone else and see the reality instead of the kabuki. And people are getting pissed at the ruling class as a result. They're taking to the streets to express their anger and fear, not with rifles but with signs, and when the election comes this fall, you can bet they'll be watching for fraud and slick political game playing. The counterrevolution is being televised right now, brought into your homes by the anarchy of the internet 24x7. People have seen the mess the "best and brightest" have made, and they're tired of being told they have to pay for it. They're tired of being called racists. They're tired of all the ruling class bullshit that says "Do as I say, live green and cut back, and never mind my many mansions or jet-set lifestyle!" And the people, as they always have, are going to make things change.

Unlike the 1970s, when people huddled helplessly around their kitchen tables, watching their world go to hell in a handbasket.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
Been there, done that, but I didn't get as detailed and I didn't bother with YouTube. Also unlike GVDL, I've only been through one marriage. Still noodling over whether I want to do that again.

My list is here, for what it's worth. Amuse yourselves trying to figure out which songs go with which women, if you like; there haven't been that many.
wombat_socho: Wombat (HALO)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] deathquaker.
Would you like to know more? )
wombat_socho: Wombat (The General)
Many many years ago, when I was a young Civil Air Patrol cadet, one of the senior members explained to us that CAP wasn't interested in professional volunteers, they wanted volunteer professionals. Therefore we needed to step up and get professional.
Well, what the fark did that mean? )
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
This seems an apt description for the goings-on in The Sword of the Lady, S.M. Stirling's latest novel in what's come to be known as the Emberverse series. Rudi Mackenzie and his companions have partied, parleyed, evaded and fought their way across North America, despite the best efforts of the diabolical agents of the Church Universal and Triumphant. In addition to the mundane problems of working their way through the mess of "pumpernickel principalities" that have grown up from the scattered survivors of the United States, Rudi and his friends are coming to realize they're not only important actors in a very important play, but that they had no idea how huge the stage is. Much is revealed about the Alien Space Bats, but meanwhile, back west where the adventurers' families are struggling to defend themselves against the unholy alliance of the CUT and the United States of Boise, things aren't going well at all...

A fabulous book it is, with almost all the characters from the second trilogy on stage and doing what they do so well. Treasures are recovered, allies found - or made - sly references to previous Stirling works made, and -perhaps inevitably- an Asatru dominion found in Maine. One of these days when I'm working steadily again, this book is going in the library, because I know I'm going to be reading it and re-reading it for years to come.

A long, long time ago, when the Co$ was adamantly denying that Hubbard had ever written science fiction before turning his hand to crime, it was damned near impossible to get copies of his SF. This was a shame, because whatever one may think of Dianetics and Scientology, there's no denying that Hubbard was a prolific and competent writer, publishing not only under his own name but several pen names as well. I'd become fascinated by his work while spending way too much time at the Library of Congress reading back issues of Astounding SF, and when I came across one of the rare original hardbacks of Final Blackout, his apocalyptic tale of a World War II that eventually wrecks the world with atomic, chemical and finally biological weapons run wild, I snapped it up. Considering that you couldn't find the thing in normal bookstores, $25 seemed like a reasonable price.

Well, some thirty years later, the Co$ came to its senses and realized there was money to be made in selling Hubbard's backlist to Scilons with a taste for SF, and eventually published most of his old novels under the Bridge Publishing imprint. As it happened, I was hard up for cash at the time, so I picked up a used paperback copy of Final Blackout and eBayed the hardback, and last night I lugged the softback along on the Metro to kill time. Aside from not being long enough, it hasn't aged well. As we all know, the war didn't grind on and on until industrial civilization collapsed, and for all their madness, neither Hitler nor Tojo could quite bring themselves to uncork the bio or chem weapons, perhaps remembering better than Hubbard the sort of problems chemical weapons caused in the First World War. More than anything else, Final Blackout reminds me of the Twilight:2000 RPG, except that Hubbard has a much lower opinion of civilians (and especially politicians) than did the lads at GDW. One can understand why both Fascists and Communists were critical of the book; it does too good a job of portraying the kind of people who run those regimes. It's worth reading, dated though it is, but I wouldn't buy a new copy if I could avoid it.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Catholic)
Going to the 2 PM Spanish Mass at Blessed Sacrament was a big mistake. I left early, during Communion, and I never do that.
Moderate to severe alienation follows )
So as for today...I suppose technically it fulfills my Sunday obligation, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

Usual Sunday icon not used; it would be wrong.

*twitch*

Mar. 7th, 2010 05:10 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
[livejournal.com profile] cutelildrow was apparently having a similar dream to mine...
stupid details begin here )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
Today was pretty unremarkable, so I present you with twenty songs that remind me of the ex-wife and some ex-girlfriends.
Not all of them are depressing. ;)
Names are omitted because.
Cut to spare the f-list )
EDIT Swapped a couple of songs out for more appropriate music.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Ganked from Pandora Wilde on Facebook

Fill this out about your SENIOR year of high school! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be!! (Interesting theory. -W) At the end, choose 10 people (or more or less) to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. (I'm not tagging anyone, but I am curious about [livejournal.com profile] brian_edminster's answers. -W)

Crossposted from Facebook; this version has some informative links and extra comments.
Would you like to know more? )
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
[livejournal.com profile] darksumomo's post today reminds me that I've been on the internet for over 30 years, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] digex who got me an e-mail account at MIT so I could read and comment on the ARMS-D mailing list back in 1978. Maybe even 1977. Needless to say, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a student at MIT. I didn't even bother applying there, since I knew my math skills stunk on ice and I didn't realize they also had a liberal arts program. Who knew? I thought all those people went to Harvard or BC. Anyway, yeah - 31 years on the Internet. I'm sure there's people who have been on it longer, but it's something else I can shake my cane and yell at the kids about. :)
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
(Only half kidding there, folks.)

[livejournal.com profile] morenasangre posted this meditation on music and memory, which struck a chord with me and made me think about my own relationship with music and emotions - and memory, of course.
Do you want to know more? )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
Cobb talks about the positive mental and emotional effects of being outdoors in this moving essay, and I can't help thinking that people do have some wired-in need to get out among the trees, lay out in the grass, stare at the sky, and get a feel for what it was like centuries ago when there were no cities, no suburbs, not even any small towns. Just your family, and maybe another family miles away across the woods, streams and fields. I think a big part of what's wrong with cities these days is that there isn't enough green space for all those people, and the kids don't get exposed to the great outdoors early enough and often enough to know that they need that space to just...chill out. Relax and watch the clouds go by.

I used to get that feeling a lot driving through Iowa on my way to Cedar Rapids, going down through Lyle and St. Ansgar and Osage and getting out into the wide open spaces where it felt like the sky just went on forever. No skylines, no mountains, no forests...maybe a copse of trees off on the horizon someplace. It can be aggravating if you're in the wrong frame of mind, but if you're open to it, it can be very liberating and relaxing.

This is why I think that major league baseball has gone in the wrong direction with its new parks, which are filled with noise and loud music and enormous video screens blaring out ads and information like Satan's own televisions. Baseball ought to be something that connects us to the green fields beyond the endless grayness of the city, a place in the middle of the city where we can just kick back, have a beer or a Diet Coke or just some cold water, and chill out. Unwind. Let some of that stress out while we watch the home team.

This is also why I try to support organizations like the Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol that get kids out of the cities and into the country once in a while. It does those kids good, and the more we do it, the less wrapped up in society's stupidity and nonsense they're going to be.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Back in the 1980s there was this guy named Drew Kaplan who published a catalog full of weird and wonderful stuff like bread makers, ionic air purifiers, and more computer gadgets than you could shake a stick at. Long before Best Buy came along, or the Intertubes, DAK brought some really cool things to your mailbox for pretty reasonable prices, because he imported this stuff direct from Asia. Eventually DAK disappeared (the story behind that is on his website) but after four years of retirement, it looks like Kaplan is back! It looks like he's starting small and looking to expand back into some of the old product lines as well as bringing new stuff to light. Kaplan tested all the stuff himself and did his own write-ups, so you knew he wasn't selling anything he wouldn't buy himself. Pretty cool.
wombat_socho: Wombat (HALO)
An infomercial for wargaming by the late, great SPI.

From the consim-l mailing list.

wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
Ah, Facebook. Once again you connect me with old classmates, and it's a hell of a good time. I hadn't seen LH since graduation day in 1977, and was a little surprised to find her a happily married housewife with kids. TBQH, given that she was somewhat of a proto-steampunk/Goth in high school, I had half expected her to turn out as...well, not a married housewife heavily involved in her church, even if the church is Unitarian Universalist.

On the other hand, people change a lot in 30+ years; facets of their personality emerge that you hadn't seen before, and you get the rare opportunity to see yourself through somebody else's eyes. It was a good time; her husband is a really cool guy, the kids well behaved, and her friends are pretty cool people too. Lots of good food, good conversation, not too much picking at emotional scars. (Although I have to wonder: is there something in the human brain, some obscure social software thing, that compels divorced people to do memory dumps about their exes to each other? Even though the last thing in the world you want to do with people you haven't seen in 30 years is talk about that stuff...)

So I think we'll be getting together again, maybe for table games or something. LH was one of the people I felt really bad about losing touch with, even though we weren't all that close in high school, and it's good to be seeing her again.
wombat_socho: Curly W (baseball)
A meditation on hating the Yankees
Cut for those uninterested in baseball )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Happy)
...this is smokin' hot.


I think I finally understand what my Dad meant when he used to say that he never cared for the Beatles until the Boston Pops covered them.

(Jammie Wearing Fool)
wombat_socho: Wombat (Original content)
An essay about growing up in the shadow of the Bomb
MADness has its place )

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