Archive for September, 2010

Repeal DADT

It should go without saying that a government supposedly based on freedom and equal rights has no business making discrimination an official policy. Yet here it must still be said repeatedly. It’s possible that this is because nobody in the government actually listens to those they are meant to represent. It’s equally possible that this is because nobody in the government actually believes the document they swear to uphold has any value or meaning. Neither of those possibilities make it right to continue discriminatory policy.

So long as a soldier does what a soldier is meant to do, namely live up to the oath of enlistment, matters of sexual orientation ought not matter at all. Nor should matters of religious preference, political affiliation, or any other matter of personal opinion be of any concern.

Supporters of keeping DADT alive like to claim that unit cohesion will be damaged by allowing the openly homosexual to serve. That might be the single most baseless claim I’ve ever heard in my life. Unit cohesion is probably damaged more by the current deployment cycle, in support of wars in which few can identify a single tangible goal, than it could ever be by even a full squad of homosexuals with neatly accessory-adorned body armor.

I knew homosexual soldiers, both male and female – support and combat arms, when I was in the Army. They conducted themselves like professionals. They followed orders, and often exceeded the standards set forth for the completion of their tasks and missions. On the other side of things I pushed for UCMJ action against more than a few completely useless heterosexual soldiers. Why on Earth is there a policy wherein a good soldier can be rapidly shown the door out of a service he or she both wants and deserves to be a part of based only on sexual orientation yet it’s nearly impossible to get rid of so much of the trash that makes its way into the ranks?

To invoke a bit of pop-culture, Lady Gaga probably said it best here, ““If you are not committed to perform with excellence as a U.S. soldier because you do not believe in full equality, then go home.” I really could not agree with her more. The one thing I’d say is that she needs to urge more than just three Republican senators to support the repeal of an insane policy – she needs to urge every single member of Congress to abolish the nonsensical policy once and for all.

More beer photos

The number of beer bottles in the cabinet of my bedside table has grown to the point where another trip to my storage unit is probably going to be required soon. Checking my digital beer wall revealed that I’d not taken any photos since the Christmas Ale season. Homework had sufficiently melted my brain so I took a break to snap a few shots.

So far, I have used about four different lighting setups for the beer bottle shots. Usually some post-processing is required before I upload, and that has always irritated me. Some processing is always going to happen, but I’m talking about having to essentially replace the entire background – no good. Finally, I managed to come up with a way where the only thing I need to do is a quick curves adjustment and crop/straighten. The enormous Lastolite Tri-Grip reflectors I have work pretty well as a background for these product shots. I’ll be using them in such a way more often.

Usually I post a wide-angle photo of my setup, but I find that often leaves people wondering what is going on so I shot some (very jerky) video this time. Why did I shoot video? Mostly just because I could!

YouTube Video.

One of my favorite beers on draught. One of my least favorite beers in bottles.

Homework has taken over

Since I have finally made it to the point where I am taking actual engineering classes things have changed. Once upon a time (read: every semester prior to this one) I just took notes in class when I felt like it and things just worked out. Now I take notes in class in one notebook and rewrite them again, after reading the chapter in the textbook, in another notebook. I do this for every subject. It takes a lot of time. Time that I hope is worth the effort.

When that is all said and done I move on to homework. The assignments are generally not that many problems but those problems often require you to solve two or three other problems just to be able to start getting an answer for the assigned problem. Waiting until the last minute is not an option anymore. In the past it was an option I elected with great frequency.

Sometimes I can’t go on anymore and need to take a break. Usually, when that happens I opt for some mindless fun on the PS3. Sometimes I manage to squeeze in a little guitar. Not nearly often enough one of my cameras might get a little attention. Escapes from homework are rare. I don’t see that last fact changing anytime soon.

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