Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Graduation

I had another "graduation" today. Unlike my Bachelor's and Master's degrees, I attended the ceremony for this one.

I was tasked with a poem...

I had planned on writing a poem to read to you today, but that seemed too much like torture. Since we're here at Arlington, I thought a poem about another cemetery, established in Europe early in World War I, would be appropriate. This is In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae:

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The job of a security officer is often a thankless one. We will have boring days, and long days, and it will be easy to be complacent. But we have a responsibility to the many service members who lie close by, some of whom gave their lives for their country. We must honor their sacrifice by protecting those who live and work here. Thank you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Book of Eli

Claire and I watched The Book of Eli a week or so after it came out. The previews make this look like a lone wolf character with a powerful weapon moving through a post-apocalyptic world. The previews are not wrong: but this movie is more than just that.

Denzel Washington has played a lot of angry badasses in the last 10 years. They often have drinking problems and at least a touch of faith. This role is not a significant departure from that, but at least one scene is martial arts genius, shot in a way that allows it to be stylized but still look realistic. Gary Oldman again masterfully plays a very bad man.

There are other innovative features to the film, such as subtle perpetual lighting changes that I believe are meant to indicate damage to the ozone layer. There is at least one surprise you should not see coming. 3.5/5 stars.

Sherlock: Case of Evil

I was bemused to see a Sherlock Holmes movie featuring Vincent D'Onofrio on the cover as a choice in Netflix, so I watched it. D'Onofrio is actually Professor Moriarty, which seems a natural choice for an actor who usually projects a twisted genius.

James D'Arcy does a suitable job as the lead character, portraying him as a proud, brilliant young man making a name for himself. Gabrielle Anwar (usually seen in USA's Burn Notice, but evidently this role was before she was left too long in the sun without food) is the female lead. She also performs well.

Sherlock: Case of Evil was evidently made for TV, but does have some gore from autopsy scenes and a little attractive female flesh. Despite the low production values, the move is enjoyable, except for D'Onofrio. This man has played at least two of the all-time memorable movie characters (Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, and the evil-farmer-inhabited-by-an-alien in Men in Black), but while his character is otherwise believable, his British accent sounds off. I subtract half a star, still leaving a very decent 3/5 stars.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


The first week of training academy with WSI is behind me. We qualified on Thursday, and I scored a respectable 272/300 (220 is passing). I was especially happy when some suggestions and practice I gave to our last individual helped her qualify with a 269 (from a low 100 points lower)!

Another class leader has been chosen for this week, which is gratifying, since the chief did something to annoy the sergeant, and he in turn, kept being pissy with me. Unfortunately, tonight I've been trying to "square away" my Class A uniform for my DA photo tomorrow. The first time I'd scheduled one, I'd forgotten my name tag. This time...hey, did anyone remember that some of the buttons come off the Class A? I sure didn't. And now, I have no clue where they are. Ugh.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

No Good Deed

Claire is having a girls' weekend in Boston. I left with plenty of time for my 0900 PT test, which was good, because I spaced and missed my exit. I still made my hit time.

One of the sergeants who was assisting with the test asked me to warm up the group, so I warmed them up and got them stretched before the Captain made it out. He walked by the group, eyeing us, saying he needed a class leader, preferably someone with experience. We did our pushups and situps, though I was a little disappointed that it was stressed that this was a pass/fail test, with no extra points for more than the minimum needed.

I ended up running a respectable 7:35 mile. Not stellar, but in the top 1/3 of the group. I walked around for a minute, and then jogged back to help encourage the stragglers to make it in time. I ran the last two in, with the chief just behind. I heard him check the last runner's time (she passed, with 19 seconds to spare), and then verify that I had already finished. He turned to me.

"You're class leader," he said. "March 'em back."