Sunday, July 24, 2011

Music Art Life

In respect to my artistic goals I guess there's more to admit, I also want to learn to play the guitar. Mumford and Sons songs inspired me. I love the feeling in the music. Sometimes I'm not totally on board with their lyrics, but it's the guitar that's got me going.

Musically speaking, in the Netherlands, a friend had some music out and when I asked why she told me about her violin. She said she's not great, but she likes it none the less. She recommended I go to the Czech Republic if I'm looking for a cheap violin while I'm in Germany. I'd love to pick it up again. I believe this means I should look for an apartment that doesn't have restrictive noise measures in place.
My friend who is already in Bamberg, she lives in a great apartment but it's a little out of the way. I'd rather be closer to downtown and public transportation. I can't wait to really start my life. I know it seems like I keep looking forward as though what I have in front of and around me isn't really life. Yet, I feel like I do not waste what is around me, I just get impatient with it. Why can't this bit be over? Living only barely outside of Thayer Gate, why can't I really be free of West Point?

So I drew a new picture and am publishing it now.  I decided to make this a separate blog entry because I felt it detracted from the overall different tone and theme of the previous blog.  So this one may be a little bit of what you already read, if I do have any readers.  Also for those of you new, I have my Twitter account on the sidebar as well now.  If you enjoy any of these posts, or any of the art, please subscribe.  And if you want any particular topics feel free to comment or message.

Today was a particularly creative day at work.  First listened to a small lecture on keeping the Cadets from using the roads.  It's an ambitious goal.  Keeping Cadets off roads is difficult because the land navigation sites are just too big and it's too impractical to monitor all the roads.  In reality, the very existence of so many roads makes it almost a moot point.  If the roads weren't there, the Cadets couldn't use them.  The roads are there... I do empathize with some of the frustration, if it's there why not use it?  Because we're trying to teach them the basic blocks of skills they will need on land navigation courses that are more flat and not so easy to terrain associate with.  I've been thinking of another way to relate to Cadets (having been one so recently) the importance of true land nav as opposed to trail-walking.  I think it boils down to this:  when I tell my civilian hiking counterparts how our land nav course has trails, they laugh out loud at the thought of having to teach Soldiers how to read a map with trails.  I think we should aspire in our training to be able to do more than walk a trail.  We should come away from our training able to tell our civilian counterparts that we can wander terrain without trails, we should be able to say things like "Well on a linear feature you could resection to figure out where you were on a map, but man you better have a good map."

To be fair, I think when civilians envision land nav for the military they think of huge open woods or the heart of some tropical nowhere in the middle of the night, a Ranger silently wading in waist high water, rifle trained ahead of him and making silent hand gestures to keep his squad in line until the moment is right... then BAM! Bullets start flying, and our heroes have taken the enemy by surprise having navigated to this point with nothing but a gut feeling and impeccable sense of direction.

The reality of land nav tests is you have your map, which you are trying to keep dry because if it is not raining you are incredibly sweaty.  You have your plastic protracter, with maybe a string tied to the center to more quickly calculate grid azimuth.  You have your military grade magnetic compass with degrees and mils on it.  You have at least two kilometers to cover on an easy course.  You don't take off running, and you're not on a Sunday stroll.  You're somewhere between, power walking and trying to maintain your course.  You're looking around and trying to make sense of what you see around you with the lines of elevation on the map.  Like most things in life, it's been highly romanticized.  But I would like to impress on these Cadets they should not come out of this training with skills that would make an amateur hiker laugh at them.

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