Get in or get out

I wanted to be the first to let you all know that I was accepted to the masters program at UTEP.  I honestly can’t imagine being the second person to tell you, cause I’m just not cool enough to be on the “let’s talk about other people” circuit.  I mean really, has anyone ever come up to you and said “Hey, did you hear what Barry’s been up to?”  No, probably not.

Anyway,  I’ll be working towards my MS in Intelligence and National Security Studies.  I’m totally looking forward to the complete nerd-core goings-on of the program.  I can finally have a socially acceptable place to discuss my view on torture, targeted killings, the future of intelligence collection, and the utter lack of intelligence demonstrated on a regular basis by John Mayer.

On a related note, I’m glad I’m not a jackass celebrity whose every idiotic word would be published for the world to see and mock.  Fortunately I’m a celebrity only to Axel, and he doesn’t know what “idiotic” means.  And as far as published, hell, only five people ever read this (you know who you are) and none of you folks would chastise me for my nonsensical ramblings.

Speaking of Axel, for some reason he’s sans pants this morning, just fashionable diaper and t-shirt.  Thirty more years and that could be me!  Here’s to the future!


New Year, New Gear

Alright folks, it’s a new year.  Heck, it’s a whole new decade.  This time of year makes us all a bit nostalgic for the past, and optimistic about the future.  I’m keeping with a bit of tradition today and laying out some new year’s resolutions.  I’ll try to stick to as many as I can, but you know how scatterbrained I can get some times.  Help me out with whatever you can, it’s good for cosmic balance (cause I don’t believe in karma).

  1. First and foremost gonna spend every possible second with Axel.  He’s pretty awesome and you should all be glad to have even the most peripheral relationship with him.  True true.
  2. Get rid of my flab and get in shape.  Time to stick to my Navy SEALs workout.
  3. Keep up with this here blog.  It’s just so easy to get distracted and forget to update.
  4. Watch more movies, thanks to the wonder of Netflix and the abundance of free time at 3am while up with Axel.
  5. Shamelessly plug friends, like Ask An Enemy, Casas Fumando, ILMDesigns, and anyone else who I deem worthy.
  6. Get a freaking job.  I mean seriously.
  7. Get a new hobby.  I tried out IDPA, but I’m ill-equipped.  Need some new gear.
  8. I guess I’ll need to buy some more records this year too.  Got some fantastic additions last year, gotta keep that trend going.
  9. Play more MW2.  Hit me up on Xbox Live if ya wanna play sometime, id is stranglehold76.  Indeed.
  10. Finally, consume and take part in every bit of awesomeness that comes my way.  Awesomeness comes in many forms, so I’m always on the lookout.


I think 10 is a heck of a good start, don’t you?  Happy New Year to all 5 people who may read this, and to anyone else for that matter.  Tell your friends.  Seriously, I’m not just doing this for my health, I’m striving for an Ashton Kutcher-like following.  Only without the ridiculousness.

So I fudged it a bit.

Now that I’m officially a college graduate, I’m faced with the arduous task of finding myself a real job.  A career.  Daunting, I know.  I started putting together little packets with my resume, transcripts, samples of my work, brownie recipes, etc when I realized that my resume looked a bit thin.  At the same time, however, I firmly believe that plenty of people exaggerate a bit on their resumes, a little “padding” here and there.  So why should mine be much different?  It shouldn’t.  Here’s a brief list of 15 outstanding achievements of mine, listed first in the..ahem…creative way, followed by the actual meaning.  Now somebody please give me a job.

  1. I have designed and built a fortified and defensible position using only common household goods.
  2. I have taken part in the planning and execution of successful operations involving groups of between six and eighteen.
  3. I am a member of an international organization composed of hundreds of thousands of individuals dedicated to the advancement of technology and its use.
  4. I have overseen the proper maintenance and upkeep of vehicles within a motorpool.
  5. I am experienced in establishing basic physical security measures as well as maintaining those measures.
  6. I have extensive knowledge of a number of forms of communication, including state-of-the-art technologies.
  7. Through years of practice I have developed an advanced ability to conduct searches, both physically and electronically, allowing me to be better able to locate goods or information that is needed.
  8. I have experience monitoring and tracking transnational criminal and terrorist organizations
  9. I am able to quickly and effectively adapt to new environments, cultures, and customs, a skill learned through constant foreign travel over the years.
  10. My skills with modern electronics and machinery have earned my repeated praise from superiors and colleagues.
  11. I stay in shape by regular physical exercise, including hiking, weight training, and cardiovascular work-outs.
  12. I am known for my punctuality and disapproval of tardiness.  As a result I am often trusted with maintaining timetables, schedules, and deadlines.
  13. I have studied the works of specialists in a number of fields, in order to better prepare myself for unexpected events.
  14. I have experience cataloging extensive inventories of items and compiling their information in databases.
  15. I have an uncanny ability to translate technical information into non-technical language for readers unfamiliar with the subject.


 And in layman’s terms….

  1. I once built a fort using sofa cushions and pillows.
  2. I’m awesome at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare online multipayer action.
  3. My XBOX Live Gamertag is stranglehold76
  4. I watched a mechanic change the oil in my car and my mom’s.
  5. My locker at work as a Masterlock combination lock on it, to which I have forgotten the combination.
  6. I can send text, picture and video messages.
  7. Anytime my wife loses something, I find it somewhere she swears she’s already looked.  Also, I’m great at finding stuff on Wikipedia.
  8. I saw G.I. Joe twice, Cobra can’t hide from me.
  9. I went drinking in Juarez every Friday for a year, and learned a lot about fitting in with Mexicans.
  10. I can use a Magic Bullet and watch high-definition television at the same time.
  11. I walk to school every day carrying 40 lbs of books and supplies.
  12. I own four watches, and I know how to use them.
  13. I have the complete MacGuyver box set on dvd.
  14. I arranged all of my LP’s into alphabetical order.
  15. I am something of a creative writer.

You could learn a lot from Selleck.

Sitting day after day at my lonely little copy center desk, I spend a considerable amount of time staring at the rack of dvds we try to sell.  I say “try” because it never seems like anyone actually buys them.  Its kind of a shame, really, as there are quite a few good titles to choose from, and they’re almost always buy one get one free.  I’d totally pick up Baron Muchausen, Dirty Harry, The International, and a few others.  But the ones that intrigue me the most, the ones that have already taught me the most just by the sheer power of their covers, are the assorted Tom Selleck titles.

            Our rack contains, on average, 5-7 titles featuring the mustachioed majesty that is Selleck, each a direct-to-dvd masterpiece.  Maybe.  I haven’t actually seen any of them.  However, I have already gleaned a number of important life lessons from them, simply by the brilliance of their cover.  It is said you should never judge a book by its cover, but hey, these ain’t books.  So there.

Lesson #1 – Respect Authority, as learned from “Sea Change

             Look at him there, standing all contemplative.  You can totally tell he’s deep in thought, trying to figure out the secrets of some convoluted plot.  The beat-up leather jacket harkens back to his missed opportunity to play the role of film’s most famous archeologist, Han Solo.  The five-o-clock shadow on his chin tells of his tireless efforts to solve whatever mystery Robert B. Parker has penned for him.  He’s ready to jump into action!

            But wait, what’s this?  A police line!  “Do Not Cross” it says.  As a man of integrity and honor, Selleck would never break such a hallowed barrier.  He’ll stand fast on this side of that police line, squinting and straining to see what clues may lay beyond the yellow border.  He so respects the authority of the police line that he would rather see a guilty man go free than to violate the trust instilled by the thin, yellow, plastic boundary.

            Proper respect for authority is a fading trait these days.  Miscreants of all walks openly flaunt their disapproval of all things authoritative.  Radical anarchists blow up cars in Switzerland, anti-globalization rioters destroy Starbucks, the McRib returns.  Tom would be disgusted by such actions, and would fight to his dying breath to defeat them. 

Lesson #2 – Bring a Gun, as learned from “Death in Paradise

             I once read an interesting little list of “rules of a gunfight.”  Rule number one: bring a gun.  “Death in Paradise” shows our hero, forlorn and brooding, clutching his Model 1911 pistol firmly.  Again, the stubble on his face shows his weariness, perhaps from the daily fight just to stay sober and uphold the law.  No wait, that’s Die Hard.  Sorry.

            But Selleck does have his shirt unbuttoned a bit, showing just a whisp of manly chest-rug.  He almost seems to be holding his precious .45 close to his heart, as though it were more dear to him than his children (whom I assume he ate. He’s Cronus). I can only hope that he hasn’t fired that chrome death machine too recently, or he risks singing off that masculine mat on his chest.

            The glint in his eyes tells us one thing more than anything else, “I have a gun.”  The question fronted by the one raised eyebrow is simply: “Do you?”  If you answered no, please value your life and the fragile psyche of Selleck and walk away.  He does not want to shoot you, but darn it, he will if he must.  And doing so will undoubtedly spout another small handful of hair on his burly chest.

Lesson #3 – Take Care of Yourself, as learned from “Last Stand at Saber River

             In the first of Tom’s many period pieces on display here, we see him posing with his trusty Winchester rifle.  Ok, it may not be a Winchester.  But would you know the difference?  It’s not a Tommy Gun, or a bazooka, so it must be a Winchester.  Regardless, the lesson I learned from this cover is to take care of yourself. 

            Selleck teaches us this by making sure to don his favorite neckerchief and arm guards.  Whilst riding out on the range it is not uncommon for a horse to kick up dust and dirt.  Your average cowboy could inhale tons of the stuff over a lifetime.  But not Selleck, he pulls that neckerchief up over his face and breathes easily.  In the days before swine flu-driven sales of respirators, only the most self-preserving of folks would bother with the neckerchief.  Tom wants you to know that you aren’t less of a man for looking out for your lungs.

And those arm guards! How much manlier can you get?  Only grisled gunfighters and Vikings can get away with wearing such things. They not only protect one’s arms from mosquitos and other biting insects, but also protect delicate French cuffs on those old timey shirts.  Thanks Tom, for showing us how to extend the lives of our cuffs and our fragile, girly wrists.

Lesson #4 – Have Good Friends, as learned from “The Shadow Riders

             Here once again we find the esteemed Mr. Magnum Selleck dressed in his finest western garb.  Without actually watching these movies, I’m left to hope that these are, in fact, westerns, and not some bizarre post-apocalyptic wasteland movies where everyone just dresses like cowboys.  “The Shadow Riders” teaches us one of life’s most important and difficult lessons, have good friends.

            In this case, Selleck seems to be close with Sam Elliot, another fine and underrated actor.  Also, another fine and underrated mustache.  I’m reminded of those rules of a gunfight; rule #2 is: bring friends with guns.  Selleck and Elliot must have gotten the same mass email that I got, because they’re living by these rules. 

            On the other hand, this may be a classic case of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  The two may be bitter rivals for the affection of their third-billed co-star Katherine Ross.  Can you blame them?

            Or…this could be the rejected first attempt at a film version of Brokeback Mountain.  Would Tom do that?  Sure, he’s got the range

 Lesson #5 – Have a mustache, as learned from Every Other Tom Selleck DVD Cover

           Bottom line, mustache trumps no mustache every time.  I can only hope to someday live up to this teaching.

Why yes, I believe I would like fries with that.

                The topic of this entry is quite a simple one: hamburgers.  Not people from Hamburg, I don’t know squat about them, so I’m not qualified to talk about them.  Other than to say its funny that they’re called Hamburgers.  Chortle.

                No, no, I’m talking about grade A, 100%, all beef, cooked to perfection, served up on a warm bun, and sold to me for about $1.  Yes folks, I am a connoisseur of the $1 hamburger.  Sometimes it’s $1.19, or $1.29, but if it’s over $1.50 it better have bacon and cheese and come on a plate with no paper wrapper.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate a fantastic $5 burger, mostly on Tuesday nights at Crave (they’re fantastic).   There’s just something to be said for the underappreciated bargain burger.

                First you ought to know that if there is a $1 hamburger out there, chances are I’ve tried it.  I used to be a huge fan of the 88 cent McDonalds double cheeseburger, despite its weird grayness and the sinking suspicion that the “beef” was not entirely what it was supposed to be.  I followed the McD’s double for years, as it slowly inched its way up to 99 cents, then $1, and now to $1.29.  It’s been replaced on the Dollar Menu by the “double with cheese.”  Big difference: only one slice of cheese.  Lame.  And to be honest, that little slice of yellow cheesey goodness made all the difference.  (The double cheeseburger’s only saving grace now is that as some McD’s you can get it with green chile, that’s pretty sweet.)

                More recently I’ve been big on Wendy’s and their lineup of cheap burgers.  My typical order there used to consist of a Texas Double Cheeseburger, a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, small fries, small Dr. Pepper.  $4 used to go a lot further than today.   The Texas has been replaced by some kind of double stack thing, and the Jr. Bacon runs ya $1.19.  Cest la vie.

               Where does that leave us today?  The Justaburger.  Whataburger really does have some awesome burgers, and the Justaburger may be their best deal.  Its’ still 99 cents, which gets you a decent sized burger with mustard and onions.  You can add cheese, bacon, jalapenos, a freakin onion ring, whatever you want for just a bit more.  I’m all about throwing a couple of those little guys down my throat when I’m in the mood for some quick comfort food. 

                So next time you see me, offer me a burger, I’ll be more than happy to tell the whole world what I think of it.  My culinary delight will most certainly bring your burger world renown and all the trappings of fame and fortune that come with it.  Or just buy me one cause I’m broke all the time, and really, you’ve got a buck you can spare.  My cardiologist will thank you later.

I like to listen to music. Simple enough?

One of the most annoying questions anyone can ask me is what kind of music I like.  I like just about all kinds of music, with only a sparse few exceptions.  And for the most part there are even exceptions to those exceptions.  I don’t much care for country music post-1980, but dang it if Garth Brooks didn’t write some catchy tunes.  We can all sing along to “Friends in Low Places,” am I right?  I don’t like much rap, but N.W.A., Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and the like all have a place in my heart.  I like hip hop, and despite what some may think there is a HUGE difference between rap and hip hop. 

I just hopped in my truck to head home from work, put the mp3 player on random and got this order:

1) “Particle Man” – They Might Be Giants

2) “Las Vegas” – Andrew WK

3) “Pervert” – Descendants

4) “Work it Out” – Jurassic 5

What a mix, huh?  I can’t imagine ever sitting down and deciding that I would want to hear all those songs lined up like that.  I’m about to thump some Wiley whilst I rock the COD4, a somewhat distracting mix, but I’ll get through it. 

I’m always looking for new music to check out, and I’m pretty open to try anything.  Any suggestions?  Talk at ya tomorrow.

Oh, and this one’s for AskAnEnemy – Blogs r being cool, we’s not got nothin bester to do wif r time n-e-wayz.

Seriously, what could go wrong?

I can honestly say that I’m not really sure this is a good idea.  But I’ve never been one to turn down an opportunity to spout off about the most utterly random things.  So shall we get started?  Any suggestions on what to talk about first?  If not, be expecting some aimless ranting about poor internet connection speeds f*$&ing up my COD4 time or how much I hate moving.  And I don’t mean like moving my body around, I can shake it with the best of em.  I mean I hate having to pack up my worldly possessions and move them to a new abode.  Pos whatever.  I’ll be back soon.  Just you wait and see.