Episode 55: New Adventure, New Opportunity (Finding some new book titles and we have some fun)

April 19, 2021  

Happy Monday evening VFOT fans and followers. Let me start off with an apology. This post is a day late. Here in Massachusetts, today is Patriots’ Day (normally also known as Marathon Monday). I know that it isn’t a federally recognized holiday, but here in the Commonwealth it is a day that we commemorate the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The “shot heard around the world” was the beginning of the American Revolution. In normal years, this is a state holiday, and it is also the day that they run the Boston Marathon. As we know, this is not a normal year.   

It is however a long weekend. I decided to embrace that. I took today off and treated it as a chance to recharge. That meant when it came time yesterday to decide between writing my blog and taking a nap, I took a nap. Hence writing the blog today. Let’s get started.   

Pro-Reading 

 I’m still making my way through Transforming Leadership (Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership-A New Pursuit of Happiness.  2003. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.)  I read a little about Mao, the creation of the Tory party in Britain, the Russian opportunists, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I’m learning quite a bit from this title.   

Other Reading 

I finished Walk in My Combat Boots, by James Patterson, Matt Eversmann, and Chris Mooney. (Patterson, James, Eversmann, Matt, & Mooney, Chris. 2021. Walk In My Combat Boots. New York: Little, Brown, and Company.) Oh My God! This is a phenomenal book.   

Finishing that one, pushed a recommendation on my Kindle for a similar title. I started Ashley’s War, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. This was another phenomenal book. I’d read accounts before of the US Military’s use of Female Engagement Teams and the Marine Corps’ Lioness Program, but I’d never found a narrative about the formation and the training of the Cultural Support Teams. “Ashley’s War” is that book. This is an amazing account of the women who volunteered for a difficult combat assignment, the training they underwent to prepare themselves, their difficult missions, and the inevitable losses they suffered. This is another one that I highly recommend.   

Other Learning Opportunities 

 The last couple of weeks have been hectic. There hasn’t been a whole lot of opportunity for voluntary learning opportunities, but I did find a couple of chances. Last Friday, I participated in a roundtable discussion with Homebase regarding mental health services and programs for returning veterans. On Tuesday, we had our 1st Supervisory Roundtable of the quarter. This was a tough conversation about some important current events surrounding policing. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was productive and important.   

Some Stuff About Me 

 Today I had a short reconnection conversation with a high school teammate. I’m not going to get into a lot of details here, because I won’t break his confidence. However, I will say that at various times in our lives, we all wear a series of masks. What I learned in this conversation today is that we never can tell for sure who around us is wearing a mask. We also don’t know who around us, might be able to see through our masks. Finally, we can’t know, sometimes until much later, what effect or impact we might have on those around us. Some of those impacts can last a lifetime. I know that some of my early influences have had a profound impact on me to this day.   

FUN
 

We’ve had some pretty good fun times in the past couple of weeks. Our first date night was on a warm spring night, so we headed to Ye Old Forge Tavern. It was too chilly to eat out on the deck, but it was nice to get back to this older favorite. We tried some new milk stouts and shared some of their famous wings. For dinner, C had her favorite salad and I had their wonderful Shepherd’s Pie.   

Last weekend was another warm one for the early spring. I decided to fire up the SoloStove and enjoy a few beers while enjoying an early evening fire in the yard. It was relaxing and recharging.   

This week for date night, we landed on Jae’s at the Hilton Garden Inn. We got there early. Jae’s makes a great Dark and Stormy. We shared an order of Spicy Salted Pepper Calamari, then enjoyed our favorite Sushi rolls. After dinner, we headed home and broke out the 4,000 Questions book. It was another enjoyable evening.  

On Friday, I was supposed to have a social engagement with a work colleague, then piggy-back that into an evening out. Unfortunately, he wasn’t feeling well, so the work meeting was a bust. Instead, C and I headed north to North Adams. We met the other half of C squared for a couple of beers at Bright Ideas, then headed up the street to Grazie for a wonderful Italian dinner. This was another great night.   

Sunday, I got out for an awesome ruck march on another glorious spring day. Today, we took a walk through the conservation area with our pup, then I spent the afternoon patching up my new Gi.   

Well, that’s about enough for now. On this glorious Patriots’ Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on what the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord were prepared to sacrifice to create this great country. In these difficult times, we would do well to remember that.   

Remember, if you need supplements, Jiu-jitsu gear, jeans, or boots, check out Origin’s offerings here: (https://originmaine.com/?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF&utm_source=affiliatefor 10% off.   

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1* 

If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF).  
Victory Force Options Training is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site. 
Comments Off on Episode 55: New Adventure, New Opportunity (Finding some new book titles and we have some fun) Posted in Development, Fun, Learning

Episode 54: New Adventure, New Opportunity (There is a Doctor in the House & the Governor needs to speak to you)

April 4, 2021

Happy, sunny Easter Sunday VFOT friends and followers. If it is within your faith practice to recognize the Easter holiday, today we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. If that is not within your faith practice, Happy Spring. The season of rebirth is upon us.

Pro-Reading

I’m continuing to progress through Transforming Leadership (Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership-A New Pursuit of Happiness.  2003. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.)  The last couple of weeks have taken me through the US Constitutional Convention, the ratification of the 1st 10 Amendments, and across the pond to the French Revolution. This has been a fascinating historical perspective of leadership challenges. I really am enjoying this book.  

Other Reading

In my secondary reading, I’ve finished a couple of interesting titles. I picked up on a book recommendation from an old episode of Zero Blog Thirty and downloaded Sebastian Junger’s Tribe. (Junger, Sebastian. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. 2016. New York: Hachette Book Group.) I loved this book. As a society, we like to think that our technological advances that have improved our civilization are entirely positive and that they make our lives better. Junger takes a look from a historical perspective at how civilization has removed us from our tribal connections and led to increases in anxiety, depression, and other types of disorder. In a readily accessible and readable style, the author examines how traditional societies relied on strong tribal connections not only for physical protection, but also for emotional and psychological protective mechanisms. The book examines why returning veterans miss their wartime experiences…not because they miss the combat, but because they miss their unit…their tribe, and the strong connections that they share. This book was fascinating. Check it out.

After I finished Tribe, I turned to Walk in My Combat Boots, by James Patterson, Matt Eversmann, and Chris Mooney. (Patterson, James, Eversmann, Matt, & Mooney, Chris. 2021. Walk In My Combat Boots. New York: Little, Brown, and Company.) Oh My God! This is a phenomenal book. I’m having a hard time describing how good this book is. Essentially, it is a collection of autobiographical stories of Veterans, whose stories probably would not otherwise be told. These are not the stories of top-tier operators who get the movie deals. These are the stories of everyday American women and men who volunteered to go into harms way and do amazing things. It includes missile technicians, helo pilots, crew chiefs, covert officers, family members and many others. This is an amazing book. I truly feel that every American should read this book as a reminder of the sacrifices that our servicemen and women make for us every day.

Other Learning Opportunities

At the tail end of last week, I got to head out on the road and spend some time with a supervisory class again. Between the earlier 1-day trip and this 2-day road trip, I really felt like I’d almost made it back to normal. This was a 2-day block with the Institute for their first line supervisors’ program. My partner and I did a generic introduction to leadership and situational leadership, then rolled into leadership in a crisis, followed by scenario-based exercises. It was awesome to back with students again.

This Wednesday, I participated in a webinar at the request of my finance director. The topic of the webinar was “Rethinking Police Budgeting.” I won’t say that it was fun, however, it was eye-opening and informative. There’s no time like the present to expand our horizons and examine new possibilities. The events of the past several years require it.

My weekends have been centered on exercise. Both Saturdays I managed to get in both a Muay Thai class and a Jiu-jitsu class. I’m finally starting to feel a little more comfortable in Muay Thai. Last Sunday, I got a good ruck march in. Today we took the pup for a walk before we got cleaned up to go to lunch.

Some Stuff About Me

Normally, I use this section to share a little bit about me from my past. Today, I think I need to use this space to talk about my present and immediate future.

Last year, police reform was hotly contested and debated here in Massachusetts. Several different bills were advanced by various constituencies groups and factions. Eventually, the bills were placed into a legislative conference committee. On the last day of the year a consolidated bill came out of committee and the Governor signed it. One of the most significant changes contained within the legislation is the creation of a newly created Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POSTC).

For the past several months, efforts have been underway to address some of the other provisions of the new law. I’ve been involved in conversations about the new committee focusing on facial recognition and a committee focusing on community policing and mental health. There had not been much publicly available conversation about the formation of the new POSTC.

Wednesday night is normally date night. We had a lovely night out (more on that later). Later that evening, our phones started ringing. I won’t share all of the details, but by the end of the night, I learned that I was being considered as one of the Governor’s appointees to this new Commission.

Thursday was a blur. By the end of the day, it was official. I am now one of the inaugural appointees to the new Massachusetts POSTC. I’m humbled, honored, and a little bit overwhelmed. I’m looking forward to serving in this new capacity. I’ll keep you posted as this evolves.

FUN

I’m starting this section with a huge shoutout. Last Tuesday afternoon, I got to watch my lovely bride, C, defend her doctoral dissertation. By the end of the day that was official. Congratulations Doctor C! I am so proud of you and all of your hard work. This is such an amazing accomplishment.

Since I was scheduled to travel to teach, our 1st date night had to be shifted. That was ok. Since she defended on Tuesday, that was a perfect reason to go out for date night to celebrate her accomplishment. We decided to go out for in-person dining at District Kitchen & Bar. That was a really fun night.

This week, date night was normal. Right up until it wasn’t. One of our favorite old haunts, Thistle & Mirth, has retooled by expanding into an adjacent space and adding a ramen restaurant. We definitely wanted to check that out. We got in early and got seated before the rush. We had a lovely dinner, then went next door to District to have a cocktail and dessert. The dessert we’d had last week was so good, we had to go back and have it again.

Well, that’s enough for this week. See you soon. Until then…be well, stay healthy, and be kind to one another.

Remember, if you need supplements, Jiu-jitsu gear, jeans, or boots, check out Origin’s offerings here: (https://originmaine.com/?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF&utm_source=affiliate) for 10% off.

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*

If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF).

“Victory Force Options Training is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site.”