Archive for May 2012
I occasionally forget to mention that I write novels. A little over a year ago I embraced the e-publishing paradigm after publishing three novels conventionally between 2001 – 2003.
JOHNNY WYLDE is a departure from my previous novels, which were military thrillers in the line of Stephen Coonts, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. The WYLDE series is a lot more interesting and fun to write — some of my fans describe it as gunfighter noir, and at least one of my girlfriends describes it as gun-porn. Graphic sex, graphic violence, poetry and rock and roll. All the things that make life fun. Oh, and Vietnamese noodle soup, too.
Try it out at Smashwords for free. Follow the link to the book, click on buy (you’ll need a Smashwords account if you don’t have one, and if you don’t have a Smashwords account, you should, as they rock for supporting indie authors and indie publishing), and enter the code listed below. You can download a copy in *all* e-publishing formats (Amazon Kindle, BN Nook, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, PDF, even smartphone apps), and you can download multiple copies for all your electronic platforms.
Free. From me to you. Enjoy.
Enter this code: NK27G
Free until 30 June 2012.
“The hardest thing about growing old is that other men no longer see you as dangerous…” from ACT OF VALOR
“Arlo, I’m not saying you’re a lion in winter, but your roar ain’t what it used to be.” Boyd Crowther in JUSTIFIED
I have a friend who commands one of the most respected European military special operations units. He’s received the highest decoration for courage under fire that the United States government can give a foreign military officer. Six years ago, he attended an invitation-only training course I presented in Europe.
I was, at the time, a wreck. I was recovering from a bout with colon cancer, systemic infection that had wiped out my kidney and lung function and led to a near-death-experience, nine major surgeries, a hellish divorce and custody fight, impoverishment and depression.
Dennis Martin of CQB Services in the UK, my long time friend and collaborator, organized the training and brought me over. It was a great gift of friendship, as I was completely broke and essentially unable to work. Dennis insisted I present a training course on my neural-based training concepts to an audience of the top European and African martial arts instructors, law enforcement trainers and military special operations personnel.
My friend, I’ll call him K, was one of those attending. After several days of intense training, the program was opened up to a larger general audience of martial arts instructors, law enforcement instructors and military personnel. On that day, I was sitting in the corner, leaning on my cane, completely exhausted by the work I’d done.
One of the new students looked at me and said to his partner, “Is that Marcus Wynne?” At the same time, another new participant pointed at me and said to his partner, “Oi, who’s that fat old wanker?”
I laughed so hard I thought I’d bust the stitches in my gut.
The latter guy was grabbed by one of the instructors and taken off into the corner, and then returned to apologize. I laughed and held up my hand and said, “Dude, you were right the first time. No need to apologize, but thanks anyway.”
I sat there and, for the first time in my life, was the Old Fat Wanker sitting on the side of the class, watching my friends, colleagues and former students in front leading the way. It’s hard to describe — unless you’ve been there — what it’s like to go from being the guy in charge, the guy in front, the guy teaching or leading, to the guy on the sidelines.
After a while, I went outside and sat on a bench and listened to the sounds from the gym: laughter, shouts, the smack of pads. My friend K came out and sat next to me. He said, “How are you, Marcus?”
I told him. About what it felt like to no longer be considered dangerous among dangerous men, to feel weak among the strong, to be the lion in winter.
He listened. He got it. And he said this to me, something I will never forget:
“Marcus, something all of us who go in harm’s way must go through is age. The body cannot keep up forever. Sooner or later, the body betrays the will. And then it’s time to do something else. For you, it came earlier and harder than for some.”
“You don’t have to be the one in front anymore. You don’t have to be the one leading the way. You don’t have to be the one to kick the door. That time is past for you. What you have, and what you can still give, what you gave us this week through your gift in teaching, is experience. That’s what you have that younger men don’t. You can give that to us. And through us, with your teaching, we will give that to so many more. You have always been of Service. You still can be. You still are. Through your Service, you have value.”
Value earned through Service going in harm’s way on the behalf of others.
I’ll take that. And with great thanks of gratitude, love and respect for my friend K.
Today is about Service.
It’s about the millions who have laid down their lives in Service to Others, those who went in harm’s way on behalf of others. And those that are still out there, on the streets and in the desert and in the mountains and the jungles of the world, being dangerous in the Service of Others.
Deep felt thanks of gratitude and love to all of them — past, present and future — for their service and their sacrifice, and the sacrifice their families must accept as a consequence of that service.
Remember them, today, and for all of the other Old Lions out there, a hat tip and a glass raised to you on this day.
Thank you and God Bless You.
This quote from Chief Tecumseh is dedicated to those we remember this day:
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
Chief Tecumseh Shawnee Nation
Hill People Gear’s Mountain Serape is one of the finest pieces of insulation kit on the market. Period. I’ve been an outdoorsman and backpacker since the 70s, tested gear professionally for outdoor magazines through the 90s and the early 2000s, and I’ve written hundreds of reviews of all kinds of tactical and outdoor kit.
So I’ll say it again: HPG’s Mountain Serape is one of the finest pieces of insulation kit on the market. Period.
Take the classic poncho liner, a staple in the rucksack, truck or backpack of just about every infantryman since the Viet Nam era. For those not familiar with poncho liners, think of a lightweight blanket with a nylon shell. When you add a water resistant shell, a hood smack dab in the middle like a poncho, strategically placed zippers that convert the MS into a duvet-like overcoat or lightweight sleeping bag, you’ll have the Mountain Serape.
There are many versions of the poncho liner on the market, ranging from Chinese knock-offs of the GI issue liner, to Kifaru’s Woobie and Doobie, and a host of other manufacturer. The HPG Mountain Serape is the only one I’ve seen that incorporates some elegant design modifications that take it into the Best of Class — in fact, the Only One In It’s Class — Category.
Things that rock: Warmth to weight ratio. Compressibility. Water resistance. Wind resistance. The hood, the hood, the hood. Simple conversion into a great coat or sleeping bag.
Things to use it for: Hunters of both two-legged and four-legged game will *love* this. You can pull this out of your ruck and throw it on in a stand, and be toasty; if there’s wind, zip it into greatcoat configuration and sit out a drizzly windy wait in comfort. For climbers, backpackers, and other folks that normally pack an insulation layer-jacket, replace that with this multi-purpose item that doubles as a ground cloth, a sleeping bag or a lay-out liner for gear check. Search and rescue personnel will appreciate this as a superior casualty blanket as well as a warmth layer that can be thrown on over a small 24-hr pack when on break. I had an opportunity to offer it to a mom and child while working on their car in the early winter; the mom loved being able to throw it on over herself and her baby, zip it up and keep them both cozy.
She also said, for the fashion-conscious, that it looked and draped like Issey Miyake’s Japanese-inspired coat designs.
I used the MS as a hasty warmth layer on an exposed ridgeline with 20-30 mph gusts at 15 degrees F in Wisconsin, as an emergency blanket while providing aid, and as a general lightweight utility blanket for day trips, which included reading in the park and picnics with lovely women.
It’s replaced my Norwegian Jerven Duk — gifted to me by friends in the Norwegian SOF — for emergency bag carry. The Jerven Duk has superior water resistance and is designed primarily as a shelter tarp and secondarily as a blanket-type wrap; the Mountain Serape is superior as an insulation layer and not designed to be a primary shelter layer. So what I’ve done is combine the MS with a sil-nylon tarp and cordage for my baseline 3-season shelter package. The whole thing weighs about a pound and a half, and disappears down deep in my Amron MAP-3500 rucksack. The Jerven Duk stays handy in my back-up gear, though, because in a hard driving rain or sleet, it beats this particular combo for shelter purposes. Adding that hard-shell protection and reinforced grommets to the Mountain Serape would create a whole different beast, and maybe we’ll see that from the young geniuses at Hill People Gear.
Keep your eyes on Hill People Gear — they’re relatively new in the market, and just getting started. I think they’ll be the Kifaru or Mystery Ranch of the future. Check them out, and tell Evan and Scott that I sent you.