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3652 Days and counting

December 27, 2014
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul…

Issue 1
Vol 4.

Cheers. Ten years ago I started to blog because I missed my friends at college and needed away to express myself. It was on blogger and you can still check what I used to write about back then here. It has been the most incredible ten years of my life. But that’s a empty thing to say. The first ten years I spent so much time learning to talk and to not be afraid of the dark. The next year years was middle school and high school and I wasn’t that interesting. Since I went to college though, that has been something. Worthy of a blog, at least I think so. And I think you would agree.

The next ten years I may lose my irreverent sense of humor, stop thinking so much, find a wife, have children, buy a house, get a real job, stop daydreaming that I am Batman, develop a rational and mature self image and become a productive and well adjusted member of society.

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So lets continue on as I ruminate on my life and my mis-advenutres all filtered through my wry, offbeat, sense of humor. These are the musings of a young man with a caustic and flippant sense of humor, who thinks too much and too little of himself. Who’s reach was maybe just beyond his grasp and who never gave up. Ever. The story of a young man who was willing to share his victories, because he forgets them to easily, and share my failures because I never seem to let them go. This is my story the misadventures, both internal and external, real and imagined, of Me.

You know that promise I made so many years ago.

Lets get this started.

Laura Janet Milton

I didn’t even cry the day she died. I was numb. Shocked that my greatest nightmare had come to pass. When I told my friends because I knew that if I didn’t then it would all rush out when I least expected it. It would tumble out of me, a ball of emotion and a frantic and desperate pain. I saw the wash of pain over their faces and heard the tears they beat back. They were there for me.

It has been over a year. So let me tell you what I know is true.

As much as I am like my father it has become self-evident that I am my mother’s son. The dedicated, ambitious and driven man who types this, the man with an irreverent sense of humor. That’s me. It took me a long time to figure it out and about a year to come to terms with that. I look in the mirror now and see how much we look alike and I wish I could have seen in before. We were always told that I was the spitting imagine of her but we couldn’t see it.

Days go on and I now know what it is like to live in a world without her. Not as dark and cold as I once thought it would be but her light is gone from the world, her specialness is only left in me and memories. Its hard to understate how it is both alive and vibrant and so hallow. There are days when I would give anything just to hold her again.

Harder still is when I remember that she is dead and, for an instant, the pain is new and real. Burning, hot and scarring I am wounded by the memory just like it was the first time. My mother is dead and there is no amount of begging, pleading, working, praying that would bring her back. This notion is bitter and cold in my mouth and I still cry and suspect that I will always shed a tear for her.

I still speak to her, argue even. We talk about me, my life and what I want to do and should do. I wonder if she knows all of my secrets and failures, the things I never told her. I laugh and think to remind her to watch Gone Girl, a movie I think she would enjoy. I told her about my career and my promotions and the opportunities that have come my way.

It is hard to speak about her and not because of the emotions I feel but because I know that my words, my writing, however elegant is not enough to describe the woman that raised me. I love my mother, always did and always will. It was and still is a damned shame that it took so long for me to realize that the young man who didn’t just dare to dream but dared to work for what he wanted and was always a little surprised when it did work out, the obsessive book buyer and carnivorous reader, the dedicated worker and planner  is the son of Laura Janet Milton. My wit isn’t sharper, maybe more accurate and not as dry but I grin through my tears thinking about her laugh.

Above all else that is what I miss the most. Her laugh. If you got her laughing it was like a small personal victory. She told me once I was one of the funniest people she knew.

She would ask now about my plans. I would tell her about the additional schooling, the certifications and the contacts with GS-15s. She wouldn’t understand the Cyber Security Challenges that I took part in, the CSAW convention I went to or CompTIA. No she would understand but she wouldn’t care about the details. She would nod and smile because she knew I had a plan, a thought out plan with real and reachable goals. “What about writing” she would ask and I would answer and tell her about my blog and the books I am reading. “Well…you know what to do, Right?” She would look over her glasses slightly, brow wrinkled.

“Yep,” I would say.

“You can always ask for help. I know you are a grown man but me and your father are here to help you.” She isn’t looking at me now, she is changing the channel. I see the white static in her glasses.

“I know Mom,” I pause. “Thanks and I love you.”

“I love you too Adam.”

Alien: Isolation

One of the most disappointing games I have ever played was Aliens: Colonial Marines. What I expected was an trip into the expanded universe of  James Cameron’s Aliens. A continuation of the atmospheric world that drew inspiration from Vietnam and Starship Troopers in methodology, imagery and characters. I wanted a game where the characters were desperate, out numbered and holding back their animalistic panic with whatever is left of their military discipline. A game that mimicked the penultimate battle in Aliens, a desperate though controlled retreat as the Xenomorphs overwhelmed their defenses. What I got was a poor homage to an excellent movie and a dull FPS that I took back to the Gamestop the next day.

What could have been...

What could have been…

I know video games, like movies are about wish fulfillment and games like Halo, Call of Duty and the Batman Arkham series play to the immature side of my ego where I am a super-soldier, special forces or just Batman. Its all one in the same really. The motivations are epic, noble and heroic, the enemies are faceless, malevolent and many and the story is little more than an excuse to kill or punch your way to the end.

I bought Alien: Isolation back in October and I am still enjoying it. Despite being burned so badly by the last Aliens game that I got I spent 200$ on an Xbox One just for this game. The trailer, and articles written about it seemed promising. A lot of games promise, as a change of pace, that your character isn’t a trained killer or soldier. When you are first introduced to your character you find her welding. She is less the hyper-masculine effigy that is all but ubiquitous in modern games and more “Average Joe”.

Working Joe...Joe...Joe-ETTE? I'll allow it.

Working Joe…Joe…Joe-ETTE? I’ll allow it.

As you progress however through most games you find bigger and better weapons and more ammo with increasingly aggressive and deadly enemies. The game is all but begging you to be a relentless murder machine. Not Alien: Isolation however. It manages to keep its promise.

Simply stated what Alien: Isolation does is make you revel in being powerless, scared and Isolated. Without giving away to much of the story you are a young woman, a skilled worker, that is trapped on a space station with desperate people, violent androids and creature so menacing that one movie has lodged itself into the pop-culture lexicon.

The first time I encountered the creature I was with the only other person I had met in the game. His name was Axel. He was slightly bigger than Amanda and a ragged image of a man stressed beyond his limits. The cut scene started after we just outran a group of thugs, armed with way more than anything we had. Clutching his pistol he is out of breath and we argue about him having to kill someone. Something wet lands on his arm. He looks up, slowly and is quickly impaled by the tail of the Xenomorph. I never get a real look at the creature. His scream is wet with blood as he is yanked into the vent high above us. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears as I dashed into the shadows towards a sickly green glow. Confused for only a moment I realized it was a button and that I needed to press it. Doing so would bring the tram and save me.

Form above, behind and all round I hear the menacing hissing of the Xenomorph. I am brought back to the nightmares of my childhood. I am on the Nostromo, on LV-426, on Fury 161. I can’t see it and I know that even if I did it would be a quick and messy death. The tram seems almost malevolent as the seconds stretch into what seems to be an eternity as I look, almost panicked, into the shadows.

The tram arrives and I don’t even peak in. I back into it, slowly. I am only waiting for the cut scene to start, maybe the token first glimpse of the monster before I am saved by another person or an explosion or whatever.

The Xenomorph lands at the doors of the tram with the casual, confident grace of a predator, the “perfect being”. It almost takes its time looking up before it sprints for me, arms out, hissing and growling then entire way. Now Its holding me, close and the screen cuts to black just before the smaller, secondary mouth shoots out and kills me.

I died and my heart was still racing. I love this game. I love everything about it.

Resolution Round up: Extended Play – The End of 2014

2014

Running – C

I still hate running. But now I do it a few times a week. I am in better shape but I feel like I am a bit of a failure because it took me so long to start running again. I just need to keep this up.

Apart of me knows that if I run I will lose weight but I won’t feel differently. Looking at pictures of my self I had no idea how skinny I was. I am going to start running again.

Fast Food – C

I don’t eat nearly as much Fast Food as I used to. I go once a week and after my trip up to New York when I splurged and ate whatever I wanted I have been on the straight and narrow for sometime.

Dating – D

I don’t care anymore.

Certifications – B

Network+. Learned what to focus on and what was important. I plan to still work towards a handful of certifications and I plan to hit it really hard once classes end this semester. I had plans for 3 this year and I only got one of those. I could have gotten the first two but the last OSCP was well beyond me.

Overall – C-

This year was hard for a lot of reasons. I bit off more than I could chew when it came to work and going back to school. This year I couldn’t even maintain the momentum of writing and posting once a month. I couldn’t tell you why I felt like everything was always right on the edge of spinning out of control. I couldn’t tell you if it was a testament to my failure as an adult that it was so out of control or a testament to my resolve because I was able to handle so much new chaos and still managed to survive and in some cases thrive despite it.

Resolution Roundup 2015: Raw Emotions

I need to keep it simple this year. I have a lot ridding on the next two years. I leave the Navy at the end of 2016 and I want all of my ducks in a row before I leave. These resolutions are the building blocks of those ducks…

Ducks are made of blocks right?

SEEMS LEGIT.

SEEMS LEGIT.

Waste Less Money/Food

I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I threw away food this last year. It would sit in the back of my refrigerator and spoil and grow rancid before I threw it out. I ate less fast food but I could have been better about it. Every time I did eat fast food I didn’t eat the chili or the chicken in my fridge. I would save it for later and later would never come. I wasted so much money and food that towards the end of the year when I threw out mushrooms that were floating in their own putrid soup and the roast beef that was only fit for a vulture I knew I had to do something.

So from now on I will spend at least 30 minutes each week planning my meals for the next seven days and buying food according to that plan. I will keep track of the food I have in my house to stop from buying to much of one thing.

Workout 5-6 times a week

This is a little cliched and I know it. I am in crappy shape and I need to do better. I used to workout all of the time and I enjoyed it. I have a gym at work and not 5 minutes away from my house. To be clear this isn’t about losing weight or getting into better shape. I used to have a hobby that gave me structure and goals, a hobby that got me out of the house. I need to be more active and this is a way to do it.

Watch less TV

Recently I noticed myself watching less TV. Now I really only watch whats on my DVR or HDD. I have the exceptions of sports but I want to greatly reduce the amount of TV I watch on a weekly basis. I want watching the TV to be a choice and not the default action. The shows I really watch with any consistency are the Daily Show, Sports Center, South Park, Married, You’re the Worst, and The Americans. Everything else I watch can watch on DVD, Netflix on just get by some…other…means.

I don’t hate or think less of TV but it had taken up to much space in my normal day-to-day. This also means that I have more time for reading, writing, and podcasts. Maybe even spend more time creating things…

An Adam Milton...PODCAST...

An Adam Milton…PODCAST…

Operation Dark Fedora

People are only good at what they practice. If you want to be a world class singer, dancer, artists it takes years of consistent and deliberate practice. If you want to be good, great or even a professional then the same methods apply but on a shorter and much less focused time line. I want to be a professional penetration tester. I can get the training and certifications but in the end I am going to need to practice. This is a strange resolution but the goal is by the end of the year to build a functioning simulated network on a CPU and use that to practice attacking and defending

Kicking ass all over cyberspace.

Kicking ass all over cyberspace.

 

This is the sort of project that I can add to a resume and in a few summers when I go out to Blackhat I can hold my own.

This will be an ongoing year long project. In my earliest research I think I can have the majority of the physical parts by the middle of February and be fully up and running by my birthday.

Long Post

This was a long post. Thanks for sticking with it. Thanks for sticking with me even if this was the first post of mine you ever read. If I only learned one thing these past ten years then I would consider myself a failure. I have learned so much more than that. I learned about life, my potential, love and the importance of making a plan and sticking to it. I learned you can do everything right and have no regrets and still wish you could have every moment back, just to do again. I love the FARCers and wish I could live freshmen year over again. But that FARC exists only in pictures, our memories and our hearts. The same can be said for the men and women I served with on the Bunker Hill. And my Mother.

But here’s to you and all of my loved ones. I will continue on because it is the one direction God gave us. I am Always Forward and Always Courageous.

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