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A little music makes everything better…

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Music is the soundtrack to your life. photo from yahoo

 

Hey Y’all,

 

As I write this it is 5:06AM, I am sitting in the Detroit airport waiting for a flight home. Oh the joys of being a vampire working all night just to comminute home. All things being equal there are much more difficult ways to earn an income. To help the time pass by, I have the Pandora Radio going which helps drown out the endless announcements from the gate agents, the overbearing, noncontroversial television speaker that blares at an intensely obnoxious level and the idle conversations from the already weary travelers. A lady just told her husband that he was at the airport, not home. He was going to have to take care of himself as opposed to her wonderful service. I am slightly jealous of her biting sarcasm, it was delivered in a deliciously condescending tone. My flight leaves at 6:40 and I need to tell a little story to get my mind off the insanity around me.

 

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Tickets, Identification, Rectal Exam. No wonder the lines are so long. photo from yahoo

 

In September 2003, the number one, most essential item for any crew deployed to Iraq was a patch cord. The Communications/Radio technicians were able to use their training and skills to fashion a hybrid cord that would connect a CD player/Walkman to the aircraft intercom system. In the days before smart phones, I-PADs, MP3 players and other music devices all we had were the now antiquated CD players. In the pre-Napster days, all the bases in the region had file sharing drives on the base computer systems. It seems that the computer literate folks were able to load any song from a CD to the intra-net. Then anyone (who was computer literate) could download their favorite music for free. A novel concept for someone whose computer knowledge began and ended by putting a quarter into a video game.

 

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My kids don’t have a clue what these things are. photo from yahoo

 

Fortunately Gummy, the Flight Engineer, and Kevin M, the Co-Pilot, were computer literate and had the knowledge, ability, and willingness to create hours of unending music for the flights. Gummy became the DJ for the crew because his seat was nearest to the patch cord. Technically, Harry the Navigator was closer but he is as technologically backwards as I am. I am sure he could have learned how to press the play button but his other drawback is that he couldn’t pick out good tunes. Like DJ Jazzy Jeff, Gummy could pick out the perfect song for any moment. Gummy would ask about my mood before the flight, my reply was always the same; angry.

 

 

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This was when DJ Jazzy Jeff was the star and Will Smith was just another guy. photo from yahoo

 

 

The music was the perfect distractor from the continuous drone of the four engines. Playing low in the background, we could still hear all the radio transmissions, the crew communications, and everything else that was important. Gummy was cleared to start and end the music as he desired. Thanks to him, I was introduced to groups like Evanesence, The Foo Fighters, Three Doors Down, Godsmack, Puddle of Mudd and so many others that escape my mind at this hour.

 

But to me there was nothing better than rolling in on Baghdad, Balad, or Mosul with some old school Ozzy, Van Halen, or Metallica cranking at full volume. Gummy was a full service DJ playing some great tunes from all genres including David Allen Cloe, Hank Williams Jr, Nelly, Fifty Cent, and old school NWA. I know that no one off the intercom could hear it but it gave us a feeling of Apocalypse Now. I think today the crews have the ability to plug their headsets directly into their smartphone, tablet or MP3 player so they can enjoy individual music but to me there was something that brought a crew together by sharing a song.

 

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He may have loved the smell of napalm in the morning, but he never had to live with someone as stinky as Tracy J. photo from yahoo

 

One specific memory was about a year later, flying in Afghanistan. John B., was the Co-Pilot. Roy S. was the Navigator, Richie L. was the Flight Engineer, and Pat M. was the Load Master. We had just taken off from Jalabad on the Pakistan border heading back to Bagram on a regularly scheduled trash hauling mission. John B had made us a mix CD or randomly selected songs. We were rolling at about 100 feet and 300 knots just flying over the barren moonscape when the next song up was Roadhouse Blues by the Doors. The only sound was the music from Jim Morrison, otherwise the radios and the intercom was absolutely silent. Suddenly we all keyed the intercom at the exact same moment singing one of the famous lines in rock history. “I woke up this morning and got myself a beer.”

 

I looked over at John then back at Roy and Richie. I saw Pat standing next to Richie and we all started laughing. We finished singing the song, overriding Jim’s voice in of own off key voices. It was the sound track of a collective effort to make it back home.

 

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Everything is great, man. photo from yahoo

 

If you are so inclined you can head over to the Magill Review and check out my latest article about Huntington WV being voted the nation’s most obese city. Sometime soon, Josh Magill is going to honor us with his presence with a full length article. I can’t wait, it will be nice to finally have a professional writer grace this site. I hope you all have a wonderful week, Good Friday and Easter.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me…

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Hey Y’all,

The following conversation was allegedly recorded by agents from the NSA, CIA, ODF, and ABC News. There is plausible deniability to the existence of the Top Secret conversation between myself and soon to be famous author RL Akers.

07:26 AM Friday 4 April 2014

“WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME!” Rob screamed into the phone.
“Huh?” RL replied.
“DUDE, YOU CANT GO OUT LIKE THAT!”
“Okay, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I am talking about Kara. Are you kidding me, this is off the scale crazy great stuff.” Rob said.
RL starts laughing.
“Dude, I love the book.”
“Really?”
“Yes really. I have been awake for 28 hours and I can’t put it down. I am not sure if I want to laugh, cry, or just be a nervous wreck. Now tell me what happens to Kara.”
“Did you finish it?”
“No, I have another fifty or so pages left but I can’t wait to get home to finish it. So tell me what happens next.”
“All the loose ends will be tied off sufficiently for you by the end of book.”

The rest of the conversation has been redacted to protect Kara Dunn and the existence of the Orbital Defense Force.

 

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This past week, I started and finished RL Akers’ debut novel Prometheus Rebound. It is a great read, full of intrigue and twists. The protagonist is Kara Dunn, a non-assuming, level headed video game designer who is drawn into an event that will change human history. RL does a fantastic job of creating a tale that draws from our common knowledge of Aliens, Area 51, military, space flight, and other cosmic ideas without turning his work into a book for nerds, geeks, nerds, or conspiracy theorists. By the way I can be identified as a member of all these classifications. But I found that this is an every person kind of book, it appeals to so many different genres. It should have a wide spectrum of potential readers.

Prometheus Rebound is full of intrigue, subterfuge, and reality. At its heart is a story about what if. What if we learned that we were not alone in the Universe? What if these aliens were not only intent on our destruction but on colonization? And what would the United States government do with a thirty year advance notice on this invasion? Kara Dunn is one of the key figures in the proposed solution because of her work as a video game designer that truly replicated what warfare in space would actually be. From that humble beginning she finds herself at the center of the story. I found Kara to be a very believable and highly enthralling character. RL exposes both her strength and mixes it with normal insecurity and self-doubt as she goes from working as a non-descript Graduate Assistant teaching software design courses to a week later in a Ultra Top Secret Military environment.

RL nails the military aspects of this novel. The technology is realistic and well within the frame work of what could possibly exist today. The military characters he writes are no less high strung and anal as some of the people I worked with in my thirteen year career. Relying heavily on secrets, they part information to Kara on a need to know basis. It seems that few, if anyone has the complete picture of the threat that awaits. In the short months that pass from Kara’s recruitment to her ascension to a leadership position, she begins to understand the need for secrecy and compartmentalization. It is an interesting take on the military culture and RL writes it perfectly. By the way, I have never been in the Officer’s Club at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and I am going to assume that RL hasn’t either. But his description is exactly what I would expect from someone who spent more than one night throwing back a couple of beers at a Club.

Very believably, the military has a firm grasp on the solution to the problems and if left alone they would be able to adequately prepare for the threat. But it is the civilian leadership that hamstrings the preparations. I don’t know many politicians but I am probably like most when I state that I have a less than favorable opinion of our elected officials in general. I think RL is very generous with the elected characters that he created. They are the total buffoons that I might create but they are not squared away, highly motivated characters like Kara either. He strikes a good balance and once again very believable.

 

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Rarely do I read a book that I didn’t find fault with or think that I could do better. But I must confess that I cannot say that about this novel. RL did a great job of finding the right mix of reality and drama. His plot twists are well written and logical. I never felt as if I was on a never ending journey or that he didn’t have a good idea of where he wanted to take me. The transitions were seamless and the pacing of the story was fast. His action scenes were easy to follow and I always had a good grasp of who was where.

If I have to be honest I did find RL’s use of 2nd person writing style a little distracting. As I understand the concept of this style, he pulls it off perfectly but as a reader I found my mind focusing on the words from time to time and not on the action or scene. But that is more preference than actual criticism. For the most part everything he wrote was spot on but there were some small very minor details that I found were not totally accurate. Things that most people would never notice or care about, but I do feel that it something to mention. After you read the book we can share details.

Was it the perfect book? If that is the question then I would reply with is there a perfect book? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I really enjoyed the tale that RL has created and I cannot wait for the second book of the series, Prometheus Revealed to hit the press. As a writer, I appreciate the huge amount of work that goes into a novel and I admire that RL did a great job of keeping the story straight. I give my full endorsement of RL’s work Prometheus Rebound. Visit his web site where you can sign up for e-mail updates and even buy the book. http://gryphens.com/Prometheus-Rebound/

As for my reading future, I am expecting our good friend Karlene Petitt’s two novels, Flight for Control and Flight for Safety, to arrive at my house this week. Hopefully that will carry me through the month and then my brain will be fresh and I will be able to clean up my work and get it out to some prospective readers.

Until then, keep on rockin.

Back to work…

writer

 

 

Hey Y’all,

I know I owe you a couple of stories but that little thing called work keeps finding its way in the path. I must confess that no matter how much they make me work, life is good. The weather has broken, at least where I am at the moment. I have a nacho bel-grande to eat, baseball has officially started and this week the off time is devoted to reading. I am working my way through my good friend and brother from another mother R.L. Akers debut novel Prometheus Rebound. I will give you a full on book report when I am finished.

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Until then, if you are looking for something then head over to the Magill Review where I take on the Washington Redskins and their offensive name. http://themagillreview.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/whats-in-a-name/

Until next time, keep on rockin

Whose Turn Is It…

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It will be nice when the weather finally breaks. photo from yahoo

 

 

Hey Y’all,

Another week and another sickness; I don’t know if it is the weather or Seasonal Affective Disorder but the croup is kicking the crap out of the family. Sunday I picked up the stomach bug and spent the day alternating between watching my insides come out and in a drug induce coma. But I rallied and Monday morning I was out clearing brush and cutting down some trees in the backyard with a hired gun. Monday evening, I was again bed ridden this time because every muscle in my body was angry by my actions. My fingers even ached, the hired gun just laughed as my weak fingers shook as I handed over the check.

Today, my wife is under the weather which is very disturbing for us all. The kids are out of sorts, I’m out of sorts and she is just plain out of commission. To make matters worse, she is a Nurse and I know they get some type of injection in Nursing School that wards off everything from the croup to Ebola. She never gets sick but when she does it usually freaks me out. I don’t know how I survived pregnancy.

Quick story tonight. On Saturday evening, Billy G., some of you may remember him as the fictional character Billy Rimes had my wife and I over to his house for dinner with his family. Billy is in the middle of 777 training at FedEx and my wife remarked how he looked so calm and peaceful while I was a stressed out little baby on my conjugal weekend home. Anyway, Billy told the story of his wedding day and how his pants to the tuxedo were missing from the ensemble. The day after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City; Billy and his brother, Jeff found a taxi and went back to the apartment that was out of power.

 

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I would guess that forgetting your pants is better than forgetting the day. photo from yahoo.

 

 

The driver asked him if he was going to be able to find the pants in the dark. Billy coolly retrieved a flashlight from his jeans pocket and leaped out of the car. His brother started laughing and asked the driver if he was wondering how a man who couldn’t remember to pack the pants on his wedding day could somehow have a flashlight in his pocket in the middle of the afternoon?

 

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I bet this guy didn’t forget his pants. He almost has as many medals as Billy. photo from yahoo

 

 

My wife was wondering the same thing but not me because I already knew. We learned early on in Iraq that there were only two things that were absolutely essential to have on your person. Sunglasses and a flashlight; in any given twenty-four hour period you would use both of them. It was not uncommon to walk out of a pitch dark tent directly into the bright sunlight, just as it was not uncommon to see the sunrise turn into a sunset and into another sunrise. It was just the nature of the beast and to finish the story, anytime I leave the house I have sunglasses on my head and a flashlight somewhere nearby. In my backpack, there are two flashlights with extra batteries for both. I am such a boy scout.

 

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This would have been helpful eleven years ago. photo from yahoo

 

 

By the way, he did find his pants and the wedding went off without anyone knowing about the missing pants. Including me, that is until this past Saturday night. I thought it was an adventure but to Billy and Anne-Lise it was a comedy of errors. Here are my recollections from that weekend. http://robakers.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/the-city-survives/

 

 

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

Like we need another theory…

Hey Y’all,

Apparently we needed another theory on what happened on Malaysian Flight 370 and the editors over at the Magill Review wanted a article to add to the discussion. I have a “Special Edition” post up about the missing airliner. You can read it at your own discretion. http://themagillreview.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/special-edition-the-mystery-of-malaysia-flight-370/

After my comments about Karlene’s experience on CNN last night, I don’t expect they will invite me on but I would probably find a more intelligent host on Sesame Street. By the way, Karlene has been invited back on CNN tonight for another opportunity to illustrate her class and composure. Best wishes.

Until next time, keep on rockin.

rob

Karlene will be on CNN tonight…

Hey Y’all,

Just wanted to let you know that our very good friend of the Blog World and frequent visitor of my site, Karlene Petitt will be on a guest tonight on the Piers Morgan Show, CNN 2100 EST discussing the missing Malaysian Flight 370. Even better news is that Piers has a guest host so it will be more watchable.

It is a great opportunity for Karlene and I know she will do great tonight. She has some new thoughts concerning the missing Malaysian Flight 370 on her site http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/

On a personal note, I went to the doctor today and he said that I am still sick but that has nothing to do with the sinus infection. Slowly the humor is returning, maybe I will survive.

rob

Under the weather…

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I tried to take a selfie but this guy looked better.
Photo from Yahoo

 

 

Hey Y’all,

I am not going to put out a story this week. Over the weekend, what I thought was allergies turned into a full scale sinus infection. I think everything is survivable but between the pressure in my skull, the coughing, hot/cold spells and the three different medicines the Doc-In-A-Box gave me. The words are not flowing out at a steady pace.

Hopefully, I will be back to full speed soon but if you are needing a Rob-Fix. You can head over to the Magill Review where this week’s article about Michael Sam is up. http://themagillreview.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/the-truth-about-secrets/

Until Next time, keep on rockin.

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