29 July 2010

First, the promised rattlesnake pic:

Righto.  Snakety snake snake.

I had a drawn-out discussion with one of my buddies here post snake sighting.

You should have, he chimed in, whacked it.  Good snakes are dead snakes.

Now, I will upfront say that whacking the snake was really not an option unless my buddy and I wanted to chase it around and run over it with the truck.  We had just finished an excessive walk in excessive heat - I don't think either one of us would have been up to getting out of the vehicle and moving nimbly.  Also, being as we're in New Jersey, we were woefully unarmed and did not even have a Big Stick with us.

(the mental image of a couple of exhausted and footsore soldiers chasing a snake, smacking at it with heavy rucksacks is kinda amusing, though)

However, the Official Bad Dog Position is as follows - we whack nothing without a reason.

Things we will/do whack include (but are not limited to): things we're going to eat; invasive species; critters that are actually damaging property; critters that are actively threatening our people or our pets; terrorists; and people who are threatening our immediate well-being but do not qualify as terrorists.

Scary animals, alas, are not on the list.  And make no mistake - I find snakes scary.  Rattlesnakes at least have some courtesy in their habits, and given a good warning buuzzzz, I will give them space to go on doing snakey things. I like to think those snakey things involve eating vermin and, possibly, biting bad New Jersey drivers.

I would not shoot a bear merely for possessing the ability to eat me, and so it seems rude to whack a snake simply for being what it is.  However, lest I classify myself as fuzzy-headed, I will offer the caveat that bears in the garage, mountain lions on the back porch and snakes in the woodpile lose their immunity if they don't go on their merry way once notified their presence is unwelcome.

28 July 2010

The bitter end

The really boring adventure that is ANCOC raws to a close. Not that it hasn't been great, but i can't wait to get back to my real job.

I hurt this morning. I grabbed one of the boys yesterday afternoon, loaded about 40 pounds of crap in a ruck, and went for an eight-mile trudge. It was hot, but neither the distance nor the weight was the problem. The problem, folks, is that apparently rucking in the Pine Barrens means rucking in SAND. Your Author is feeling a wee bit old and creaky this morning.

in really NEAT things from that outing...i saw a rattlesnake. It was crossing the road as we left. I shall post the camera phone pic a bit later. I'd only recently discovered that there ARE rattlesnakes in this fine state, and was kinda thrilled to see one.

27 July 2010


Six years ago, I passed through this same training organization to be reclassified as a civil affairs type. The Army was pouring us into Iraq, so our group of trainees was large. They divided us into eight or ten separate "classrooms." At the end of the class, the students with the highest averages, it was decided, would compete to be the "Distinguished Honor Graduate." They decided to have a "board."

Boards, in general, consist of subject matter experts quizzing you on whatever the relevent topic might be. Usually it's a healthy portion of random Army trivia for promotion and Soldier of the Quarter  boards.

So there was SGT Abby, with all of four months in the Army.
Maybe, I suggested to my instructor, someone ELSE should do this board thing, since i really didn't know very much about the Army.

Nonsense, he replied. This was a CA board, to evaluate our performance at CA school. It would be CA FOCUSED.

Liar. it was entirely Army-trivia-focused. If the Marne Corps had not provided me with excellent "military bearing," it would have been awful. As it was, the board members merely looked perplexed by the presence of someone who couldn't SPELL "Army."

Let's now return to the pesent, and the conclusion of THIS course.

You four, explained the instructor, have the highest averages in the class. So, tomorrow at 1030, you'll go before a board...

Oddy, one does not seem to be allowed to opt out of these "opportunities." We know that, because we asked.