Changes

So, you may have noticed some changes, chief amongst them being my new domain. Well, that’s because I’m repurposing this website to better suit my hobbies and interests as well as my professional development as an engineer. So, I will be focusing more on my personal projects as well as my more technically-minded hobbies. This means that I will comment less on politics and share fewer personal stories but I will be posting more regularly. I’m excited about the future and I hope you are, too.

Longfellow Friday

This Friday I decided to do something a bit different. Instead of posting Kipling, as per my usual, I decided I’d post  The Saga of King Olaf, Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite poem. In the next few upcoming Kipling Fridays I’ll do the same. Don’t worry, I’ll return to posting the works of Rudyard soon. Until then, I give you:

The Musician’s Tale; The Saga of King Olaf

Part I: The Challenge of Thor

I am the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!

Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miölner the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!

These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle;
Whenever I brace it,
Strength is redoubled!

The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations!

Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!

Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor’s-Day!

Thou art a God too,
O Galilean!
And thus single-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee!

Battle of Rorke’s Drift

One of my favorite actors is Sir Michael Caine, Englishman and all-around cool guy. In his first major film role, he plays Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in the movie Zulu (MGM, 1964). Zulu tells the story of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu Wars in South Africa. Rorke’s Drift stands out as one of the most prominent battles of the South African campaign for the British Army; the victory restoring the prestige of the British forces in Africa after their surprise defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana.

Rorke’s Drift also stands out as the one battle with the most Victoria Crosses awarded for a single engagement. It’s also a prime example of what a well-trained, well-drilled, and disciplined unit can do against a much larger force.

Though the British were armed with modern Martini Henry repeating rifles they were still heavily outnumbered with only 150 some odd British versus the over 3000 Zulu tribesmen lusting for battle. Also, the Zulus were armed with more than just spears and shields. Shaka Zulu understood the need for firearms and had been stockpiling muskets and antiquated rifles in case of hostilities with the British. There were so many rifles that most of the British casualties had been shot vice stabbed.

The fortifications of Rorke's Drift, 22 JAN 1879

But with the setting established, let us delve into the battle. In the morning of 22 January 1879, the British 24th Regiment of Foot clashed with warriors of the Zulu nation at Isandlwana. The Zulus routed the Brits in a bloody fight, their rear guard chasing down survivors as they ran to the British outpost at Rorke’s Drift in Natal. At 1530 hours, survivors of the earlier battle arrived and informed the commanding officers Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead that the Zulu Undi Corps was approaching. Understanding that there was no hope for reinforcements before the Zulu vanguard arrived, Chard ordered the creation of a wall built from leftover ration crates. He then fortified the outpost with his own meager force of engineers, Bromhead’s B Company, 24th Foot, and the few survivors from Isandlwana.

At 1630 hours, the Undi Corps arrived and began attacking the southern portion of the wall that Chard’s men had built from supply crates and ration boxes. They would spend the five-and-a-half hours trying to hold the cattle corral, hospital, and store that made up the former trading post. As night fell, the Zulus became more determined. Their continued assault against the hospital on the western end of the post caused the heaviest casualties. At 1800 hours, Chard made the decision to withdraw his men from the hospital.

At 2200 hours, Chard brought his men defending the cattle corral back into the fortified yard. With ammunition reserves running low, Chard and Bromhead dug with the men they had left. They continued is pitched battle for the next four hours, the Zulu offensive finally slacking-off around 0200 hours. The British suffered a steady stream of harassing fire for the rest of the night.

As dawn broke on 23 January 1879, the weary soldiers were greeted with a sea of bodies, the Zulu forces having retreated in the night. At 0700 hours, a new corps of Zulu warriors was spotted approaching and the British took up arms once again. The fatigued Zulus could see the approaching British reinforcements, and soon departed. At 0800 hours, reinforcements arrived, relieving Chard and Bromhead and their men.

In the aftermath of the attack, it was discovered that the British had only lost seventeen men while killing 350 Zulus. Both Bromhead and Chard were awarded the Victoria Cross along with nine other British troopers, their heroism having won the day.

For a full account of the battle (with pictures), follow the link here: The Battle of Rorke’s Drift

Movie Review: Act of Valor

A few buddies from OCS and I went to see Act of Valor this afternoon. I really enjoyed the movie; the action sequences being superb. The cinematography itself was exceptional. It truly captured the sense of being in the action doing all the “cool guy” stuff like clearing rooms and jumping out of airplanes. Also, with actual SEALs playing the leading roles, the fight choreography was spot on and the cinematographer did a great job of including all of the non-verbal hand signals and whatnot that the Teams used during firefights. And while the dialogue was a little too deadpan at times, it felt authentic and organic to what you would actually expect guys in such a tight-knit military unit to say. All in all, I would highly recommend you go see the movie. Here’s a trailer:

UPDATE: I stumbled across a great, if not colourful, review of the movie. Be advised there’s some salty language used. If you can get past the language, it’s worth a chuckle or two.

My second post

I’m at school right now. Learning how to make Flash movies. It’s an easy A. I’m really sore and very tired from working out yesterday, but that’s how it goes when you play football, you’re tired and sore. Oh, well. It’s raining today in LA so I hope it’ll stop soon so I don’t have to drive up to Camp San Luis Obispo in the friggin’ rain. WHile I’m on that topic, I’m going up to Camp San Luis Obispo this weekend for Cadet Programs Conference, I’ll see if I can post while I’m up there, if not, there’ll be plenty of posting goodness when I return on Monday. That’s about it for now. Get Crunk!

My First Post

Welcome to my new blog. This is a place where I can post my thoughts and opinions free for the world to view. I do not intend to offend anyone, but if I do, you always have the freedom to leave.