display | more...

Today there are reports that 11 foreign tourists were killed in Pakistan by the local chapter of the Taliban. The Taliban claimed direct responsibility, and released a press statement indicating that the attacks were revenge for the killing of a Taliban leader, Wali-ur-Rahman, in a drone strike last month.

A Taliban spokesman gave a statement to the Associated Press indicating that “By killing foreigners, we wanted to give a message to the world to play their role in bringing an end to the drone attacks.”

The tourists were Ukrainians, Chinese, and Russians. Countries that have provided no troops, material assistance, or munitions to aid the US effort in Afghanistan, and have been incredibly critical of US efforts in the region in general.

These dumb animals are lashing out blindly because they don't like how effective US drone strikes are at killing the people in charge, and they're not capable of doing anything meaningful from a military perspective. Even as an insurgency with a wealth of supplies, covert governmental support, significant public and private support from the local population, and almost complete freedom of movement throughout the theater, they fail horribly at anything more than counterproductive and impotent violence against only marginally related targets. Take note of the last few "offensives" within enemy (US/coalition) held areas: A couple of police checkpoints and some civilian and diplomatic facilities in Kabul.

I personally have heard complaints from Taliban fighters that the drone strikes aren't fair.

Not fair, says the people who have absolutely no compunction against blowing up children, hospitals, random vehicles on the highway, and public utilities used only by Afghan civilians. Says the people who dress up in police uniforms and storm a camp populated by tourists from non-belligerent countries.

Does anybody actually think these assholes are a serious threat to anything but sanitation?

Another year gone, and I'm now well past the point where birthdays are things I look forward to. On the other hand, I'm slowly learning to look back over each year to find things I'm grateful for.

I got my pilot's license. This was only possible due to the support and assistance of a number of folks both 'real and virtual'. You all were instrumental with messages of support and even upvoting my chronicles of the quest. Thank you all for that.

I achieved a weird sort of zen state with my underlying depression and anger. They're not gone, by any means, but it feels like I found 'ONE WEIRD TRICK' (thanks, internet scam ads) for dealing with them. It still slips, once in a while, but when I'm 'on point' now it takes much less ongoing effort to maintain calm.

I continue to develop a friendship (among many) which was so new as to be nonexistent at the beginning of last year but which brings me further into a hobby I had no knowledge of, and into knowledge I remain fascinated to acquire. I continue to develop friendships here, despite the continued statements of the deadness of the site, which remain reasons for getting out of bed.

And recently, I finally succumbed to all the noodging and friendly reminders from folks here and elsewhere and managed to get off my ass long enough to get The New York Magician properly formatted, copyedited and submitted to the big four eBook stores on the internet. It's selling; it's not going to let me quit my job, or even increase my standard of living, but it looks like it'll pay for my whisky for the next couple of months, and that's nothing to sneeze at! More seriously, I'm more grateful for the reviews than for the sales. The real happiness has come from reading reviews from friends and from total strangers which tell me that they enjoy reading the stories.

What next? I have no idea, of course. Starting to get into serious planning for next year's self-piloted Outback tour of Australia. The logistics are looking to be impressively annoying. Working on the next NYM book, as well as considering cleaning up and ePublishing some of the other long-form stuff I have in the closet like The Network Revenant or Park Ethereal although I'd have to actually finish the last 1/4 of both of those (not that that's a bad thing, derp). I finally gave in and bought Scrivener, rather than writing in raw HTML in a text editor - not because I like formatting, but because Scrivener is actually good at holding and presenting the myriad notes and synopses and reference snippets and character studies and other ancillary bits of text that I manage to accumulate when trying to write long-form. We'll see how it goes. I was ticked off about spending $45 for writing software, until I remembered that I'd spent around that for my favorite text editor (BBEdit, back in the day) so...yeah.

The movie business continues to astound and disappoint and amuse me. There have been some real gems, some serious stinkers, and a few hilarious ones both intentional and not. If I couldn't live in an era of available space travel and habitation, at least it's an era where the imagination can do pretty much whatever it likes.

The state of the United States depresses me, but even there there is reason for personal relief - several years ago, I was hired for my 'dream job' with a Three Letter Agency of the U.S. Government. After asking me what I thought of George W. Bush while I was wearing a massive lie detector (I answered honestly, of course), the agency in question unhired me before I began work. This caused me a great deal of depression and anger over the next few years. However, recent revelations of the activities of the U.S. Government - from Abu Ghraib to Gitmo to PRISM - leave me convinced that had I in fact taken that job, I would either be wracked with guilt and conflict over those same activities and my (however small and indirect) part in supporting them, or I would have been forced to do what Mr. Snowden did - and I'm not positive I would have had the courage. Not being involved, however, I haven't been ground into that anvil of choice.

Thanks everyone. You'll see me have bad days here, because I tend to rant about them in daylogs. I wanted to put one up saying that yes, I have good days too, thanks to you folks in no small part; and that those good days are the reason I'm still around.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.