Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Great Plains Republic?

Sean over at I aim to misbehave has an interesting post, asking the question "How long do you think the United States has, and if it does break up - how will it happen"

I opined a bit in his comments, but I thought I'd mumble on a bit more over here in my own blog.

As a Patriot, I find thinking about the disoloution of my country a very hard thing to ponder. I *love* this country. I love what it stands for, the strength of the system that was designed long before I was fathered, and the idea that it may indeed stand the test of time.

However, I believe that I am becoming one of a minority. Call my Conservative. Call me old fashioned, or what have you. It is clear to me that there is a large group of people in this country that do not ask the question put to them by John F Kennedy - that being "What Can you Do for your Country" but instead, "What can my Country do for ME?"

The values that made this country a super-power - that gave it a production capcity unrivaled anywhere in the world, and the will to use the might it granted have been slowly erroded. I'll leave the why's to another post. Suffice to say its happened. Its still happening.

Is all for naught? Are we bound to go from this limited Republic to something that resembles not the Free, but United States of America - but instead the Socialist States of America?

I don't think so. But I don't think it will be easy. Many people have come to believe they are entitled to things - forgetting that nothing in this life is free. Life is purchased dearly by Pain and Discomfort, both on the part of the Mother, and the Child. That free healthcare you want? Public Education? You may not pay taxes, but *someone* does. And those taxes are paying for your 'free' ride.

All that said, if the Federal Government was to faulter and fail, and I woke up one day to find North Dakota independant from its neighbors, I wouldn't immediately fret. While my job may find itself suddenly missing - I live in a state that produces no small amount of things. North Dakota is one of the leading exporters of Coal, there is a fairly robust supply of oil thats been found locally, and of course - North Dakota is a grain belt state. We have market leverage galore, if we can hold together, and chose to use it.

Would it be fun? No - probably not. It would be hard, and the changes to both this country, and my life would be epic. And I don't pretend that such a thing would happen without bloodshed. Be it because the remenants of the Federal Government come waltzing in, or because a few thousand Federal Penitentary inmates suddenly find themselves free to do as they please.

In the end, I see the states that have similar interests banding together in a great States collapse. The East Coast, with its many centers of learning, and some bastions of industry (some of which would be re-opened much to the Green's dismay) would band together. The Deep South, with its shared heritage, and similar industry would become an agrigate, the grain belt -stretching from the Dakotas to Texas might become the Great Plains Republic, and so forth.

Sadly, I do not see such a land as being stable. The United State's power is such because it is United. I don't have to worry about shipping something in from overseas, or have fifty different treatys to get my goods to the world market.

But - whatever comes, will come. For good or ill, I think Sean is right in one thing - and that is that this great nation will not be the same nation I grew up in, when my children grow old. I don't know what shape the country will have taken in that time - but, much as the Forefathers of old may not recognize that which they wrought - in a generation or three, Standing or Not, we will likely not recognize this Union either.

-Jon

Monday, January 26, 2009

Its all Greek to Me

The Idiossey a rousing tale of snark about the rise of Obamacles by Iowahawk. Take a peek, its well worth it.

-Jon

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Buyer's Remorse?

So, I listened to the Ascention Crowning Coronation Inauguration of Obama today - after the fact. My good friend Mr Limbaugh carried it on his show, and while he offered a little color commentary, for the most part we got to hear it unmarred.

I have to wonder, for all the hype surrounding this blitz of media masturbation about how there we going to be SO many people in town, and how Obama's words were going to be SO historic that people would be carving them in Marble some day - what that crowd in the mall felt (that crowd that was a hell of a lot smaller then all the hoopla would have you believe).

First Obama managed to flub the Oath of Office. How the hell do you do that? Suddenly realize whats expected of you and get cold feet?

After that, it certainly seemed like they were awfully confused at some points of his speech. You could occasionally have heard a pin drop during the speech it was so quiet. I'm sure some one somewhere has penned that a reverent hush fell over the crowd or some such thing. I don't believe reverence was what silenced them.

There was a poem, but honestly I tuned it out. It wasn't much of a poem, and it droned on for a very, very long time.

And the benedition? Are we back in the fiftys people? I'm not going to tear it a part - but... oy.

*sigh*

Word was people were filing out early - so I can only ask - did the crowd suddenly get a taste of buyers remorse? Did they realize what they had let become created?

Time will tell. I wish Obama and his family all the best. But for his proposed policys I have nothing but scorn.

As I've said before - its going to be an interesting four years. And we all know what the Chinese say about interesting.

-Jon

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The trials and tribulations of co-op writing.

I'm a bit of an amatuer writer. (Ok, you all can stop laughing now, I wasn't talking about this blog.)

I like writing fiction. I started back in highschool with Star Wars Simms online, and have only expanded from there. I've written sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and even tried techno-thriller a time or two.

Sci-fi though is my bread and butter, and on occasion I'll get an idea and ontop of writing the whole thing stem to stern completely (which is a feat in and of itself) will do it solo. This isn't frequent though, and the reason is that I find that co-op writing (where there are at least two authors, handling different veiw points and characters) makes the whole task more fun, and often can feel more alive. (Someone writing a character reacting to something I've just written might come up with a completely different idea then I had had)

There are a lot of co-op writing 'Simm's' out there, though I tend to gravitate towards Star Trek ones. I had my fill of Star Wars early on, and Star Trek has enough structure and 'cannon' that pretty much everyone can be familar with whats going on without having to be a complete Trekkie. It can be a lot of fun - you create a character, join a ship - and assist in writing out an adventure, not unlike watching an episode of Trek on TV.

The down side is that people are people - and writers block happens to all of us. If the ship is waiting on a pivital piece of action of dialogue to continue, and the person who's supposed to provide it disappears, can't come up with anything to write, or just doesn't care - an entire cadre of writers can suddenly find themselves with nothing to write.

There is nothing worse then haveing done some forward writing, and not being able to share it.

I've been the guy with writers block just as often as I've been the guy I am now - waiting for other people to act so I can move on. Such things happen, but it is frustrating. I currently write for three ships. The USS Lancelot, the USS Camelot and the USS Kyushu - which is two more then I usually do, and one more then my usual upper limit. (I like to get very invovled in my ships, so keeping track of more then 2 seperate story lines can be hard at times.)

Of the three I'm probably most attached to my character on the Lance. I play the Chief Operations Officer, and I like the ship, and some of the things I have planned out for character development, and even some possible mission planning. But the Lance feels like a ship on her last legs. Posting as slowed to below a crawl and the ship as a while, while it might have a few small things to do, is waiting for the next big post. But I don't know if that will be enough of a shot in the arm or not. It'll be too bad too, if thats the case - finding a slot elsewhere in the fleet where my Lance character would fit will be hard.

My character on the Cam is a fighter pilot, and a Squadron Commander. My take on Star Trek fighters (not unlike a lot of Star Trek concepts itself (I don't believe in a utopian future where people just do things for the betterment of mankind)) is a little different, but its been a fun exploration - and I really like the story we're penning now - even if some of it is hard to write (Its not a very light hearted tale).

And then we have the Ky, my newest ship, and the one I'm still trying to find my legs on. I'm playing the Chief of Security, something I've *never* done. I always play Ops, or a Pilot of some sort. Securty is new, as is the character design. But I like my Russian hardnose - and there are some interesting developments on her as well that I'm looking forward to.

Since the second week of the new year came around I've found myself bubbling with ideas, and things to write -while most people are still shaking off that holiday funk. Its been frustrating, and I hope it starts to change. I gotta take advantage of this zing of energy while I can :)

-Jon

Monday, January 5, 2009

There and back again...

Christmas and the New Year have come and gone, and as every year before there were good moments and bad nessled into a holiday I sadly no longer truely enjoy. I get through it, try to have a good time - but some of the bliss as it were has tarnished and gone by the wayside.

I know why this is, and until such a day as I mayhap start my own family and my own traditions, this is the way things will be.

All told, content with this fact is better then the alternative.

So this morning, as with many of the previous mornings as I've sat here at my desk at work - guiding the technical drones and poking at a few stores to correct minor issues I've found myself... restless.

I'm ready for a change. I'm not yet sure what that change might be - but I think its time to start looking for it.

Ten years ago, I was looking forward to graduating highschool and then moving onto college in what seemed like a very bright career... doing something. Back then I wasn't sure, and in my various attemps at college I've poked at Computer Science, Computer Hardware and even Criminal Justice.

None of the above were ever pursued long, and while the reasons were many to that end, the reality of it was I just didn't enjoy that type of learning anymore. I love to learn - its one of the few joys in my life that has never quit giving - but sitting in a classroom surrounded by increasingly young seeming faces listening to a well meaning proffessor drone on while I tried to take notes just didn't take.

So I learned in other ways. In the past ten years I've run a business, worked in fabrication and packaging of various computer components, packaged oatmeal, made pizzas, dug ditches, sold toys, worked construction, built floor trusses, and of course, done lots, and lots of tech support. Each of these jobs and or occupations has taught me something. Sometimes it was as simple as knowing that I never wanted to do that again if I could help it.

Sometimes it was something deeper, like finding something that truely satisfied me, but didn't pay the kind of wage I could live on.

My current job is something of a combination of all those things. I really did used to love this job, and I still enjoy it. I like puzzling out problems, proving that I know how to solve them, and more importantly am *good* at this job.

I don't begrudge my fellows who have college degrees. They worked their way up in a different path then I did -thats all. For better or worse, I chose, at least for a time to forgo college and prove myself other ways.

This has closed a lot of doors for me that I'd be interested in, but has opened others. I know at this point I've probably gone as far as I can go in my current job. To go farther and look into new things I'd need to find a new employer, and very likely - due to my lack of degree, start at the bottom again.

I'm not afraid of the bottom - its very easy to get noticed there if you do things right.

But - I'm not quite ready to go back to that yet. So for now I'm biding my time, with my ear to the ground as it were. Ten years has given me a fair number of contacts, and every now and then, I hear about something that might interest me. I've let a few of the ones in the past few years go... but now I think maybe it'll be time for something new. I'm not sure what that will be yet. It could just be a part time job, learning a new trade.

Maybe it'll be a new career.

Maybe I'll meet a good woman and settle down proper like.

I don't know.

But - I know I'm ready for a change.

Now, I just have to go out and meet it.

-Jon