vietnam pictures

I was tagged by @accidentallypatriotic for a throwback selfie. Not too far of a throwback. And not technically a selfie. But here I am with a real life hero. I served with Buck here in Afghanistan. Every time. Even this last deployment, after the Army finally forcibly made him retire, he was there as a contractor.

Buck joined the Army shortly after the Korean war as a private. Then he joined Special Forces as a medic. I once asked him what 18D class he graduated from. He said two. As in the second class ever. After Vietnam, he left the enlisted ranks as a Sergeant First Class and became a Warrant Officer. And progressed to the Rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3. In the 80’s, Buck left the Army for a brief time to attend PA school. He then rejoined the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant.

He participated in every major conflict since Vietnam. Pictured above as a Lieutenant Colonel at 63 years old and still on Active Duty. A true hero and badass.

1-Minute Anime Reviews

This season is fantasy, fantasy…and more FANTASY~!

So what did I pick up this season? A whole lot of strange, mixed things.

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (S1) & Virgin Soul (S2)

Genre: action, fantasy
Summary:  A bunch of angels and demons who try to wake up the destructive Dragon Bahamut, versus a bunch of angels and demons who try to stop said dragon from waking up…and in between them, a couple of eccentric bounty-hunters caught up in the middle of the mess. Gets even messier in S2 with a girl who turns into a dragon whenever she sees a hot guy. Fun times.
Story: B/B+
Characters: B+
Overall: B+
Commentary: By the same studio that animated Yuri on Ice, except with far better budget/management because the animation for this show is generally pretty easy on the eyes from beginning to end. First season is over, and second season is currently airing; and I gotta say, while the series doesn’t bring much new to the table in terms of plot or premise, it is insanely fun and well-balanced. This is not only a show that’s done great, it’s also the kind of show that can be recommended to just about anyone. Based on a mobile game, but is surprisingly a really good standalone adaptation. Pure entertainment.

Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou

Genre: fantasy
Summary: A hermit loli-witch leaves her cave to find her stolen spell book and runs into a witch-hating tiger-man who wants to become human. They form a contract in which he protects her until she retrieves her grimoire, and in return she’ll transform him into a human once the goal is fulfilled. 
Story: C
Characters: C+
Overall: C+
Commentary: I’m not really sure why they made an anime of this, it’s not only predictable, but also really mediocre in terms of…well, everything? But I guess the furry is kinda cute. There’s often a lapse in logic but at the very least, it’s a moderate show, so you won’t pop a vein watching it. 

Rokudenashi Mahou Koushi to Akashic Records

Genre: action, fantasy
Summary: A subpar spell caster / lazy mooch is forced to teach at a Magic Academy on his master’s order. Not only does he lose to his student in a spell fight, he’s flippant, doesn’t take bets seriously, and begrudges having to work. However, he may secretly be more talented than he lets on…
Story: C+
Characters: C+ 
Overall: C+/B-
Commentary: There were one or two entertaining moments, I have to admit; after all, the protagonist is a sly, underhanded charlatan… but the best way to describe this series is that…it feels distinctly like it belongs in the late 90s, early 2000s; a very generic anime from that particular era. That’s the kind of feeling it gives off. It’s not amazing, just barely passable. This is definitely more of a particular crowd’s kind of show (what with the sexy garters on lolis—).

KADO: The Wrong Right Answer

Genre: sci-fi, drama
Summary: A formless being from another dimension coined the Anisotrophic descends upon earth, dons on the skin of man, and offers to mankind the keys for transcending their mortal limitations. The world is at a crossroad. To rapidly advance or not? May the discussions begin.
Story: 🔥  <-fire I ate.
Characters: 🔥 🔥  <-fire burning my stomach lining.
Overall: 🔥 🔥 🔥  <-still on fire and internally screaming.
Commentary: You might have already seen my earlier review on KADO, but I essentially love/hate this show because I was led to think it was going to be a show about clever negotiations but ultimately ended with a fist fight. And while I still might recommend it just for all its obscurities, because it IS different, and could be a source of inspiration to some—I suggest viewers watch it with, not a grain, but two fist-fulls of salt and be prepared to get frustrated at some point. 

Oshitsu Kyoushi Haine

Genre: slice of life
Summary: In a fictional, Victorian-esque setting, one tiny but supremely talented tutor is summoned to the royal palace in order to groom and raise four troublesome princes into proper candidates for the throne.
Story: C+
Characters: C+
Overall: C+/B-
Commentary: Not a very creative or inspiring series, but generally relaxing, mildly entertaining and appealing enough to be a decent time-passer. Admittedly, it’s more of a visual guilt pleasure geared towards a female audience than much else. I’m kind of amused though, that super newbie seiyuus (minus Aoi) are the main cast and the more famous ones play support XD…

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS

Genre: card games, shounen
Summary: An aloof guy (with outrageous hair) who tries hard not to stand out in a crowd in real life (are you serious?), while in virtual reality he is secretly a powerful duelist known as Playmaker. Playmaker logs onto the duel server to fight against a renegade group of duelist called the Knights of Hanoi, who are also after him because he harbors the snarky A.I. Ignis in his duel disk. Chasing after them seem to be one of Yusaku’s 3 goals…much like his 3 reasoning for everything.
Story: IDK what I even say about this, it’s typical young-shounen?
Characters: ’_’) the usual archetypes thus far with not much variation.
Commentary: I actually had to drop the show quite recently because it was just going nowhere fast (yell at me if it magically somehow becomes amazing later on) — Anyway, I gave it a good shot. I really, really liked Ignis (the only deuteragonist I actually do like? Bonus points for being voiced by Sakurai), but pretty much disliked everything else. Although to be honest, I had already disliked this show from the early concepts. It was the first time I saw the previews/trailer for a new YGO series and knew I wouldn’t like it from the get-go. Yusaku is exactly the sort of typical protagonist I’d find in an Isekai novel (most of whom, get on my nerves); and even then by comparison, he’s one of the least interesting and more awkward of the bunch. Moreover, I have watched, very literally…every single Shounen anime within the last couple of decades and this show is among the most cringy of its kind (kimoi is the word that’s in my head). I’ve never dropped a TCG show nearly as fast as this one. If I were to keep watching, it might just barely be for the TCG. (I also can’t stop chortling at the name Knights of Hanoi, I keep picturing Vietnam…And what’s with all these chuunibyou, goosebump-inducing names…)

The only good thing to come out of this is now my friend who likes Vrains can’t poke fun at me for liking certain kids shows.

Uchouten Kazoku S2

Genre: slice of (tanuki) life, fantasy
Overall: A-
Commentary: This series is already moderately famous so I won’t get too deep into it, but Uchouten 2 is just as lovely as Uchouten 1. This show is hands down my absolute favourite of the season. It’s strange, wacky, exciting, and very close to home sometimes. The themes are solid, the narrative strong, and the characters absolutely charming. It’s an overall magical account about family and personal nature, and I highly recommend it.

Re:Creators

Genre: action, fantasy, drama
Summary: What happens when your novel creations come to life and try to confront you, the creator, as well as all of humanity? Are we also a creation of someone else? Things get a little strange and analytical in RE:Creators.
Story: B+
Characters: B+ 
Overall: B+ (thus far)
Commentary: This is an on-going show. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out in the end but so far I’m enjoying it quite a bit. They sometimes run a little too long on expositions; which to me is totally fine, because it’s the good kind of exposition—like a second wave of Log Horizon.
I came into this show expecting it to be some sort of terrible adaptation of a light novel (because the title name, seriously) but pleasantly wound up with not only an anime-original (with concepts from the creator of Black Lagoon!), but also a very serious tone for such a whimsical premise. The characters have notable depth to them and engage in a fair amount of discussions with substance…they express the kind of opinions that are so well-aligned with their nature, it gives off the sensation that they’ve broken away from being mere puppets of the script. For me, it’s always deeply interesting when characters can express themselves and act/react accordingly with an agreeable sense of logic (—in other words…my god, another rare show where characters can actually think for themselves—and this was not meant to be ironic).

                               MU CANG CHAI - YEN BAI - VIET NAM                                                                                  by  Wem tran

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Fifty years ago, military photographs serving in our armed forces took thousands of photographs that covered every aspect of the conflict in in Vietnam—photographs that are now part of our National Archives. Their assignments sent them everywhere: the jungles and swamps, forward bases, hospital ships, rivers, and air bases.

Our new traveling exhibit, “Picturing Nam,” will be on display for the first time at Syracuse, NY, during the Central New York Veterans Parade Expo from November 10 to 12. After that, you can see this exhibit at the Onondaga County Historical Society until January 7, 2017.