Today I’m coming out of the career closet. I’ve kept my past and identity a secret and for a while, I was receiving a lot of emails and messages asking me what I used to do. I only really talked about my previous employers in vague terms like, “my shadowy puppet masters” and whatnot; always promising my readers that one day I would reveal all. Well, that day is today.
The truth was that for a few years I couldn’t talk about what I did as my day job because I was a United States Army officer. The military has a fairly strict policy about what its officers can and can’t say on a public forum. I decided to write my blog anonymously while I was still in uniform.
So when I drew myself like this,
The real version actually looked like this.
Sorry for the deception, but really the wizard robes were much, much more comfortable than body armor.
I actually started this blog right after I got back from a tough tour in Afghanistan. I was having a hard time coping with everything in general and Wife recommended that, since I always enjoyed writing, I start up a blog to release some mental energy. I originally started a blog about my military experience, but everything was too fresh in my mind to really write about it. Instead, I decided to write about humorous and/or nerdy stuff which gave birth to Live Nerd Repeat as you know it.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well for a very important reason.
It’s a book about my time in Afghanistan and I’m over half-way done. I know this may seem like a stretch, but the writing style almost exactly the same as Live Nerd Repeat. The purpose of the book, unlike much of what’s already out there, is not to decipher the labyrinthine Central Asian geo-political landscape nor to further someone’s military or political point of view, but to give the reader a taste of the mental and emotional transformation that our service men and women undergo in combat on our behalves. In short, it’s my account of my time in war; expect it to be funny, sad, scary, pulse-pounding and riddled with sarcasm. More on this project in the coming months.
Now that your brain is digesting all of that, I’m going to throw one more curve-ball at you. I was contacted recently by one of my former soldiers, Pete, who has created from the ground up, a graphic design studio aimed at supporting our fighting men and women. Pete creates professional quality (and often hilarious) t-shirts, stickers, decals, and logos supporting our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors.
Please go check it out. The website is called Inkfidel and they can be found on Facebook as well.
10% of Pete’s profits go toward the Art of War Project in Denver, CO. For those not in the know, The Art of War project is a non-profit art therapy project that uses art to help veterans cope with PTSD. As a combat wounded veteran with PTSD, I can think of no better way to repay my fellow veterans in need. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support.
P.S. Don’t get worried. Live Nerd Repeat isn’t going anywhere. I’m still a colossal nerd and I love wizards so I don’t think this blog is going anywhere anytime soon. 🙂
P.P.S. Stay tuned for next weekend’s story about the time I almost kicked off my life of crime in a series of unwitting felonies. Till next time, ta-ta!
“I’M WRITING A BOOK! With
You gotta have words and shit. 😛
Awesome! I’m buyin’ that book! Just tell me when and where.
You got it! Now I just have to finish it… annnnd get it published somehow.
THAT’S where I know you from!! Were you near any mountain ranges over there? I could swear I’ve seen you. If your book gets made into a movie, I hereby declare that I am more than willing to portray myself. Good luck, Brother. Let me know next time you’re on this side of the Hudson.
I do remember a certain stellar NCO and best friend named Mike Sampsell. If, magically, this gets turned into a movie I would insist that you play yourself. Your comedic timing and chiseled good looks would be enough to seal the deal!
You’re too kind, good Sir. I should warn you that the chiseled good looks have left the building.
Wait, so you don’t have a long, Merlin-esque beard?
Congratulations on the book news 🙂
I did, but the HR department frowned upon it. Thanks for the congrats!
Yes, us HR people are like that 😉
When you finally publish look me up and I’ll interview you about your book for my blog. I do occasional interviews and I like to support indie blogger authors.
Thanks Phil! We’ll see if somebody is willing to go out on a limb and publish me.
You know who can publish you? You. If it’s good it will find it’s audience.
I’m glad you’re out of the career closet, are dealing with the mental aspects of your deployment AND are writing a book with words and shit! Seriously – great job!
Thank you also for the links to Inkfidel and Art of War Project.
Thank you Amusingmuse! You’ve got to have words and shit in your book, lol. Spread the word on those two guys; they’re doing great things.
Already doing it! 😉
When I was in the service (in Uncle Sam’s Rusty Canoe Club), I had a button on my liberty backpack. It said: “Trust me, I work for the government.” Welcome back to civilian life! Have you started growing the beard for real yet?
Lol, Uncle Sam’s Rusty Canoe Club. My friend had that as a bumper sticker. I was working on the beard for a while, but it was frowned upon the in workplace.
i think I would be very interested in ready that book.
Thanks! Here’s hoping it gets published.
Oh. It’s fine. I’m hiding behind a cartoonish pic of myself. Only a few friends know I’m writing here. Well, what’s important is your book. And if you need someone to review it, I’m up. Writing reviews makes up a portion of what I do for a living.
Thanks Sandy! I am a little disappointed that you don’t walk around with a sword though.
This is my second reply to your latest blog so hopefully there isn’t a limit. Since you stated that you were once an Army Officer, I feel compelled to tell you about an Officer I used to know. Your supreme “nerdness” reminds me of him very much. His name was Nick Stevens but in the interest of his privacy, I’ll refer to him as Dick Whitman. Lieutenant Whitman was by far the finest officer I had ever served with. He was smart, witty, and technically and tactically proficient at his job as a Scout Platoon Leader. I was his Platoon Sergeant and together, we fielded the finest Scout Platoon in our Squadron. That’s not just me saying that, that fact was known throughout our unit and mentioned countless times by the Squadron Leadership. Whitman was just a phenomenal leader and all the boys loved him and would have followed any order he gave. Not because they were Soldiers and following orders blindly is what they do. Quite the contrary, they would follow his orders because they knew that whatever was asked of them, Whitman had already done everything possible to mitigate risk and make sure that whatever it was was worth it. They also knew that Whitman would be right there with them chewing the same dirt. He was really something to see and someone to admire greatly. He had the quirkiest demeanor and sense of humor to go along with everything else. He loved promoting synergy even though it was all sarcastic. One time, in the spirit of synergy, he drew a life size, nude portrait of himself on the ceiling above another officer’s bunk. It was the funniest shit I have ever seen and I wish we could have recorded “Freedom’s” reaction when he climbed into his bunk and saw that giant penis staring back at him. I’m laughing just thinking about it. As time went on over there, he eventually was promoted and given the job as Troop Executive Officer in another Troop. Taking into account that this was my third combat tour and within those there had been plenty of truly awful days, the saddest day of my career was having to say goodbye to Whitman. The Platoon would be fine with the transition as Whitman made sure they could always overcome any type of adversity, but Whitman leaving was a loss nonetheless and one that I did not quickly get over. Whitman, like you, is out of the Army now and strangely enough writes a blog, as well. We even had a guy in our Platoon that was quite the artist and his name was also Pete. I guess I am sharing this because the similarities between you two are many and I’ll bet there are some dudes you knew along the way that would have things like this to say about you. I’m not sure how the inner workings of blogging operate or how big the community is, but if you should ever happen to meet Nick Stevens, just know that you are in the presence of a great leader and one that I would join on the field of battle anytime. And always…think synergy.
Mike, that’s one of the nicest things I’ve ever heard anyone say about another person, let alone about me (or this Nick Stevens person to which you refer.)
Seriously, this means a lot to me. I did the best I knew how and to have that acknowledged by someone that I deeply respect fills me with happiness. I only cried once during that war and that was when I had to leave Red Platoon. I was always fiercely proud of our Soldiers. They wanted to be the best and they earned it. I hope that accomplishment is something that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives, because I know I will. You were a huge part of that Mike.
Stay in touch. We have a lot of beers to catch up on buddy.
And remember, LT Freedom loves 8====>
I know a great German place in Midtown where we could catch up on those beers, Nick. You just gotta cross the Hudson whilst I cross the East River and we can meet in the middle. It’s truly an honor to have fought with you and I’ll never forget how much LT Freedom loves the 3====>
“You can’t fight synergy, Lemon; it’s bigger than all of us.” -Jack Donaghy
Sounds like one hell of a good idea by your friend and truth be told I started out blogging just like you with no indication of who I was or where I was from – brought in much more honest responses based on what I said and nothing to do with who they saw because there was no info to pre-judge from.
Kudos, hope you’re able to keep at it as I really enjoy your blog. Best of luck with the book! 🙂
Thanks Spider42! There is a bit a comfort that comes from anonymity. People don’t have expectations for you or your writing. Thanks again for the well wishes on the blog and the book. I’ll do my best not to disappoint.
I’m sure it’ll be great if it’s even half as enjoyable to read/decently written as your blog 😉
Take it easy.
Hope you are getting comfortable with your civilian life now! Looking forward to your book!
Thanks! I’m doing my best adjusting. So far so good!
Marines may not be a nerd topic. Not like wizards, anyway. But what about Space Marines? I hear their power armor is very comfy
Space Marines are always fun! Sign me up for the power armor. I hear they have AC inside them.
They better, if they wanna do any space combat
I often (once or twice) wondered what you did for a living, but I pegged you for marketing or maybe sales, so I feel quite betrayed (surprised) with your coming out.
But seriously though, your book sounds interesting and I think you have a really unique writing style, so I’m definitely anxious to see it. Good luck!
I really toyed with the idea of coming out with a fake profession like mummy-hunting archaeologist or astronaut, but I decided against it. Sorry for the feeling of betrayal. 😉
Thanks Rae, that means a lot to me. You’re a great blogger, writer and artist.
This is wonderful news and I love you.
This is all.
And everything, everything else.
Thank you Anna. I love you too. Let us run away and be crazy together.
This blog makes so much more sense now. I’m a former infantryman, 3 tours in Iraq, all that jazz. I felt like I was living in the book Catch-22 for 7 years.
You’re so funny xD This was hilarious 🙂 Good luck on your book!
Now I know why I liked your blog – we have the ex-military mindset in common. Although I’m former Brit Armed Forces, and we all know the difference between British and American Forces sense of humour. Which is why it’s so surprising that you are so wonderfully randomly wizardly nerdy funny. A bit of a rariety, especially as you were a h’officer and all that too………..
Nick and I trained with British Troops in our preparation for Afghanistan. You guys are fantastic Soldiers and your country is lucky to have you. Nick being Nick, when he and I were meeting our British counterparts, we were all introducing ourselves and obviously the British guys had accents. Anyway, Nick goes to introduce himself and subconsciously gives himself a British accent while doing it. It was hilarious an no one thought it funnier than the Brits. That was a great training exercise all around. It was great working with your boys.
It is always funny hearing an American doing a British accent, especially if its got a hint of the Dick van Dyke to it 🙂 I enjoyed working with some of your guys in Lashkar Gah in Afghanistan, they were in the distinct minority on the base, only about 5 comms guys, but a good bunch,
Wow, that was a game changer. I was ready to read a post on a wizard escapade 🙂 Honestly though, how amazing, and thats something I would love to read. Keep us posted!
Wow. I would have figured you for a game dev or something equally nerdy! Amazing how spilling out our brains can be helpful, eh? Best wishes on your book and please keep your fans here updated about it! Good to see you are still out here in cyberspace 🙂 Oh, I shared your pal Pete’s FB on mine. I have a few buddies in/have been/have family in the various services who would appreciate his stuff. 🙂
I’m a vet too, and thank god all that is over.
I laughed my ass off with the drumroll and the pictures. Nice sarcasm in your post. Also good that you promote the charitable endevour of your brother in arms.
Good luck with your book, I hope it becomes everything you imagine it to be 🙂
Nice work! Good luck with your book mate.
Drop by at my blog.
Hey dude, a small robot with a flashing headlamp told me that your domain name has expired.
I have no idea why they chose a flashing robot to impart this information.
He flashed at me. I feel dirty. And the internet misses your posts.
I was just about to write what Anna just wrote. Yip, so your domain name has expired and you have been suspiciously quiet on the blogging front. Behaving a bit like a cloistered monk, or author? How’s that fine work coming along then? Miss the humour