Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

After waiting for the last 6 months or so, the 6th book of the Dark Tower Series, Song of Susannah finally arrives. For those of you that aren't following the series, it's an epic that Mr King began in the late 70's about a gunslinger named Roland that comes from a world that is not ours but one of the worlds that lie parallel. All the worlds are connected by 16 beams to the Dark Tower which lies in the center of everything. Something somewhere has gone wrong and the Beams are failing, when they fail the world that's attached to it, moves on. When this happens time loses it's meaning, distances change, people become sterile, war's flash out of control and the entire world darkens. This series is attached to many of his other works, It, Salem's Lot, The Talisman and The Stand, I'm not going to name them all here but it's the underlying meaning to almost half of his writing. You can catch glimpses of it in much of his work, it's all connected. The Stand is a good example of what happens when a world moves on. Reality loses it's meaning and life flees.

King was hit by a car in 1999 while walking and I was extremely worried that he was going to die and wouldn't be able to finish this masterpiece. Guess this thought went through his head too and after recovering and writing 2 other books he was working on before the accident he finished the rest of the series in a whorl wind, he had all the books done and set up a publishing schedule last year. The fifth book was released last fall, 6th on June 1st this year and the last book is coming out this fall. I ordered the 6th from Amazon and it shipped out May 28th and I received it 26 June, damn military postal service, almost a month! Anyway back to the story.

Roland's ancestral land is overcome with bloodshed and mindless violence, destroying his family, his love and everything he held dear. In a cryptic vision he learns the only way to save everything is to go to the Dark Tower and fix the problem. We still don't know what his exact vision was but he vows to journey to the Dark Tower to try to fix what is wrong. His travels take him more years then he could count because time had lost it's meaning and the trip across thousands of miles of vast desert that seemed to dwarf anything from our world (one of the unique side affects of his world moving one was his world growing stretched, threadbare). The journey and take him back and forth between his world, worlds that could be ours and one that might even be. Worlds that have been blackened by nuclear war, emptied by plagues, lands far in the future where you see remnants of what could have been our world thousands of years after civilization had collapsed. Some of the worlds are in the same time as our world, just little differences that you notice, names of baseball teams are with the wrong cities, some of the names of cars abandoned on the sides of roads are unfamiliar, author's names for the same book are different and turning point events don't coincide. The superflu from The Stand is the big one. He gains 4 companions on his journey, Susannah Dean, Eddie Dean, Jake Chambers and Oy the billy-bumbler (intelligent dog critter that looks sort of like a collie mix with a long neck and can speak a few words). Together they are a ka-tet, a group of people that share sort of a family psychic bond that ties them together across time and space and are following ka, which is a sort of destiny. Everything has it’s meaning. The joining of each character is a story by itself so I'm not going to get into that. Song is the next to the last novel; he sets the stage for end game. It's a long convoluted complex tail that back tracks, jumps forward, every little thing has meaning and you can tell King has put a majority of his though in this (or as he says he's been channeling the dream to paper). I highly recommend it and it got me out of Iraq for the 13 hours that it took to finish.

Friday, June 25, 2004

funky sleep patterns

This switching back and forth between day crew and night crew with 24 duties tossed here and there has hosed up my sleep patterns. My sleep won't seem won't regulate it self into a normal 8 hour sleep cycle right now. I'm catching 2-3 hour catnaps at odd times, 3-6 in the morning and 2-5 in the afternoon, sometimes a little longer or shorter, even if I skip the one at night, I only sleep the 2-3 hours in the day. I don't seem really tired but sleep seems to be getting less important. I would like to blame it on stress or excess caffeine I think I've just lost touch with the regular rotation of the planet. I don't seem to pay attention to whether it's day or night anymore. Couple of people are like me now too, doesn't really seem to affect us but we can't seem to sleep 8 hours in a row. My afternoon naps for the last week have all been cut short by vivid dreams, not nightmares really, I've started a dream journal to keep track of them, might open up another blog on just my dreams. But I'm not going to write about it here because I don't want to mix the two up and have everybody think I'm a nut, which I am sometimes but that's besides the point.

Anyway if any of you are watching the news, there seems to be some sort of action happening everywhere, how is this affecting us? We're just prepared for most anything but we're sort of isolated so we don't have much personal contact with the bad guys. Hope it quiets down and everyone is bored playing video games at home. That would make me happy, can't we just all get along?

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Happy Fathers Day Everyone!

We've been living in the building behind this out door movie theater for a month now (kind of like a drive in but you just walk and sit, the first few weeks were sort of rough. Days when it was over a hundred outside and we had no power. Sucked pretty bad, the base kept giving us these huge generators that looked nice and new but would break down after a day or so over heating, fuel leaks, slipped bearings. We went through three before they brought in an old rusty generator that looked like an engine that was pulled out of a farm tractor and put a large fuel bladder in the ground. Since then we've had no problems, just the first two weeks. Our new home isn't anywhere as cool personally as the bunker that I had all to my self but it's nice having people around. It did isolate me a bit down there. The new hooch is close to the BX, internet and haji shops. We actually have hangers now so our guys are out of the sun while their working on the birds.

The base has started Friday night boxing and the first night we had 6 people go up for it and they all won, the next Friday we were 5 out of 7. Our guys are kicking butt out there. I posted a picture of one of the shiners after a match, should have some good boxing shots too soon. It's grown into quite the event.

Days are mixing one into another, sorry I haven't been writing lately, I've found jumping back and fourth between days and nights seems to impose some sort of writing block on me. I'm walking around dazed most of the time. Plus it doesn't help any that I'm a reading fool and I have the new Stephen King novel Song of Susanna coming in the mail. Should be here any time. I think I've read more out here then I've ever done in any period in my life and to anybody that knows me, that's a lot. Yes war is making me into a slacker. It's much easier to just go and post pictures sometimes.

It's surprising how much wildlife we've ran into. Every night we find a bigger camel spider and the Marines gather around and say "Wow, that's the biggest one I've ever seen". They just keep getting bigger each day, really! Which leads to other sorts of fights, they'll catch scorpions and other bugs and toss them in. They're big and mean and they'll eat anything, they tossed a mouse in once and you could hear the cheering from hundreds of yards away. Face it Marines are just big kids, take them to a body of water and they'll be skipping stones for hours happy, give them a magnifying glass they'll find an ant hole, if they invade your country expect silly stuff to be written on all the walls. Anyhow, we've ran into snakes both venomous and non, I've taken pictures of a few of them. Glad I was the only one that spotted the non venomous one, took the picture and let it go on it's way. I'm not much into killing things. Things I've found out? Scorpions do glow under black light, camel spiders have ten legs and two eyes and not even related to true spiders and don't ever use a k bar alone to kill a venomous snake.

I'm beginning to master the art of taking pictures and movies through night vision goggles. Should have a camcorder in the mail Building a rack to mount it with a set of NVG's, sure to improve the quality of my movies.

One of our pass times is playing Unreal Tournament over a network with personal laptops. We've had 8 laptops hooked up to a hub in airframes, we had a day off a couple of weeks ago and I think we played for 12 hours. By the time it was over we were all burned out on video games for a little while.

We all did suffer from a bit of mid deployment blues, the place we're at does suck but it is relatively safe. We sent one of our guys to Baghdad for a medical appointment and he came back with tales of wonders, you can wander around out in town, there's places to shop, the locals actually have cool stuff to sell unlike the junk that we have out here and people seem to be pretty friendly. Myself, other then the people that work on base I haven't had an contact with the outside world. The change over of power is just a concept that's in the news, not something that's striking into everyday life. We're just living day to day.