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January 29, 2005

Careful what you wish for...

I have subscribed to the local newspaper chat boards and I am already pissed. It is the same stuff people are bitching about- high property taxes, shitty roads, shitty drivers, shitty politicians, and, my favorite, how Hawaii should be a sovereign nation.

In every topic I can find something that would bite these people in the ass should they decide to actually get off their asses and participate in something. But I won't hold my breath when it comes to the political arena; Hawaii had the lowest voter registration in the U.S. in 2002 and in this last, probably most important election 100 years, the voter registration was down 10% from 2002. My point here is that the local complain about how shitty things are but either a) keep voting the turds in or, b) don't bother voting at all. Talk about a vicious circle.

I find it ironic that the same posters in the Hawaiian sovereignty thread also post in the thread about how the U.S. should stop helping other countries and focus on our own. Uh, hello? If Hawaii is granted sovereignty, then by your own retardedness, we wouldn't have give you jack. Then we'd have to listen to you bitch about how the U.S. doesn't do shit for people. Make up your mind assholes.

I know I have lived here for a very long time, but please tell me, this level of stupidity isn't just confined to this 600 square mile rock, is it?

Geek out 2

Beating some ass with my pig sticker

January 23, 2005

I, Jedi

It only took a year and a half but I finally did what I set out to do in this game: become a Jedi.

Although I didn't have a little green guy riding my ass every second of the day I had a lot of help from people who play this game too. I do have to give my wife a hand for putting up with all this Star Wars nonsense for so long.

Below is the screenshot every Jedi hopeful wants to see.

January 13, 2005

Running late

After 12 years of living in Hawaii I would think that I would be used to the lackadaisicalness, err aloha spirit, of the locals. I was running late today and I should have just slowed down and just tried to not be in such a hurry; but I got pissed off instead.

To start, I had to wait for 3 stops to get to the bottom floor on the elevator. This didn't bother me because people have to get to work, kids have to get to school, the old Asian lady needs to park her ass on the lobby bench first thing in the morning. What irritates me is the slow shuffling feet and the brain dead movements. Get your fucking asses on the elevator for crissakes.

My next blunder was being nice and letting them all exit the elevator while I held the "door open" button for them. What pissed me off about this is that I directly violated my own rule- never inconvenience myself to show a random act of kindness because it usually ends up getting broken off in my ass. Now I had to wait for the shuffling zombies to exit not only the elevator but also the lobby door that leads to the parking garage. The only person that went the other way was the old lady but she was the last one off. I promptly zig-zaged around them and got to my truck and fired it up so that I wouldn't get stuck behind any of them.

As I get to the first light to make my left turn I have to wait for some kids to cros the street with the light. I don't want to be one of the assholes that barrels through the turn before the kids get to the middle of the road but when the kids fuck off while crossing the street my patience starts to wear thin. Three of them stopped directly in front of my truck to paw at each other's backpacks. I rolled down my window and honked my horn while yelling "Move your ass!".

Because I was stuck behind all the parents and other people running late I had the pleasure of waiting for these same kids to cross the street down the road in front of the school. They didin't mess around this time but they sure didn't have any haste in their steps. I don't expect them to sprint across the crossing but the constant feet shuffling like a man headed towards the electric chair is frustrating.

To make matters worse, the crossing guard lady is a borderline grape jelly stain. She likes to walk out in front of cars making the right at her corner with her stop sign when the opposing traffic gets the yellow light. This is to get the maximum number of kids throgh the light, I guess, but it prevents a car or two from making the right hand turn when there is no oncoming traffic.

The next feat is making the next left hand turn without the benefit of an arrow for safe passage. I get my vehicle out in the intersection with my blinker on so that when a 4 or 5 car gagp presents itself I am in position to jet through. Not these people. This morning a mini van with an Asian woman driver waited at the white line for our turn lane. I guess she didn't feel comfortable going through the intersection with anything less than a 1/4 mile gap between oncoming cars so, as I predicted, this asshole was the only person who made it through light. I also had the pleasure of following this twit at 20mph in a 25mph zone.

To make matters even worse, this minivan had the "Drive with Aloha" bumper sticker.


January 10, 2005

Silent Service

I don't know if you have heard in the news about the submarine that ran aground over the weekend but here is a link to the article.

Our C.O. gave us a brief on the incident today and while much of the information is classified, and will not show up in the papers, there are a few things about the incident that have hit the sub community pretty hard.

The accident that has left this boat in serious damage, as well as many injured personnel, also claimed the life of a 24 year old sailor. His name is Joe Ashley and I knew him, not very well, however, just as a friend-of-a-friend when I was on the L.A. He was a nuke and was on watch when the grounding happened. He was thrown against some valves and hit his head; he never woke up. He stopped breathing and he died in the bridge hatch as they were preparing him to be helo transferred off the boat.

I have told my friends and family on many occasions that I feel extremely safe onboard the sub when the hatches are closed. I never worried about a melee attack with another sub because of the technological superiority of my sub over theirs. I never worried about hitting anything because what is there to hit at 800 feet except another sub but what are the odds of that? The hull is extremely tough and can withstand the extreme pressures of the ocean depths, depths that would instantaneously crush us if there ever were a hull breach. I slept with my head less than 8 inches from an air valve that directed 3000 pound air; a pinprick hole in that valve has enough pressure to cut through a 2 inch board. But I never worried about it. I never even worried about getting too much radiation- I have received little more than 5 hours equivalent of a day on the beach in 17 the years I have ridden on submarines.

I don't feel that way anymore. I realized today that no matter how tough that outside hull is I am still flesh and bone. I realized that no matter how much technology we have and no matter how accurate we think our navigation charts are that there is still room for error. I feel like a kid that just found out Santa Claus isn't real.

The submarine force makes up a small percentage of the Navy and we are very small and tight-knit. We have to be because of the unforgiving environment that we live in. I see and hear about soldiers and marines dying in Iraq and I get frustrated and sad to hear that news. I think it is expected to have casualties in a war so unless you know the person the casualty report doesn't have as much impact.

This boat wasn't in a wartime scenario, it wasn't running from anything, there wasn't any Hunt for Red October stuff going on- just a bunch of guys going to Australia for some well-earned liberty. They were traveling on a route, that presumably, many submarine have used before, a hundred times before. What would have been the outcome if the track they laid down was just 500 yards to left?

There is the romantic, but gallow-humored, scenario that is jokingly talked about on boats- that if we were to ever go down, that we would go down fighting and shooting weapons as long as we had the air, that when our time had come and as the sonar from the incoming torpedo got louder and more frequent, that we would go out in a blaze of glory. At least the letter to the next of kin would give the reader some sort of comfort that the death was not in vain, that is was necessary to preserve an ideology. Joe's parents received a phone call and perhaps told the circumstances of the accident. I just know that I would have a hard time with knowing my son died because he hit his head while on the way to Australia.

The Navy flew Joe's father out to Guam and he was there when the boat limped into the harbor. As Joe's body was taken off the boat by his shipmates, shipmates with broken bones, he was given military honors. Dozens of people from Pearl Harbor shipyard and investigation teams were also on the pier waiting to assess the damage to both the boat and to the crew. I am sure there will be new procedures for the submarine community; tragically, it always happens after an accident of this magnitude. This is absolutely the worst navigational accident in U.S. submarine history.

I guess I just needed to get this off my chest and the best way I can express myself is through my writing. This event has opened my eyes to the frailty of human life when I thought that, in at least one place, I was invincible. Whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else around the world, including 500 feet under the ocean, the men and women of the U.S. military are always in harms way.

January 8, 2005

Land HO!

As I wipe the sleep from my eyes this morning my wife asks me if I already know about the submarine that ran aground near Guam. I tell her no and I have a compelling desire to go to work on a Saturday so I can read the secret message boards to find out what the papers can't say. I think I'll wait until Monday.

It always amazes when a submarine hits the bottom of the ocean since we have so many safeguards to prevent it. Highly trained navigation divisions make it their priority to keep the ship safe using radar, charts, satellites, and good old fashioned compasses (well, they are bit more sophisticated than the compass you get out of a Cracker Jack box). The boat even has a sextant for crying out loud.

The USS SAN FRANCISCO was the victim of this incident and unfortunately, along with the black eye to the Navy, several crew members were hurt. The boat was submerged when the grounding took placed and, to me, that makes it even more scary.

I am brought back to the USS GREENVILLE some years ago that, after they sank a Japanese fishing boat and killed 9 school kids and collided with a tug boat, ran aground. This boat went through captains faster than Kerry could whip up Purple Heart awards for himself.

It just goes to show that there is danger in all parts of the world where the military operates. The saying "Freedom isn't free" almost became cliche after September 11 but it is a fact. I suspect this repair bill will be costly depending upon what was damaged.

January 7, 2005

Catastrophe's and class systems

Almost on que with my January 3 post, Time Magazine has a special report issue dated January 10th. Jeffrey D. Sachs wrote a compelling essay that ended up on the next to the last page of the issue.

His essay can be read online here.

January 5, 2005

Oh Canada

Even though they eat moose penis, speak bastardized French, and get slammed by South Park on a regular basis I have to applaud the Canadians for coming to our side when the rest of the world shits on us.

Here is a great article from Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun.

January 4, 2005

Ashlee Simpson: Luh hoo - suh her

This event hasn’t even made it to the Yahoo news site yet and I must say that I feel like a real reporter or something.

Ashlee Simpson was third on the pecking order of Simpsons tonight at the FedEx Orange Bowl behind her sister Jessica and that wife killer O.J. Among her many talents such as burping the alphabet Ashlee was supposed to “sing” tonight at the halftime show, assuming her lip-synching coordination has improved. After an ending of a suspiciously close GnR rendition of Welcome to the Jungle, butchered like a spring hog, she was promptly, and deservedly, booed by the thousands of people who had the misfortune of watching her. I’ll take a thousand “wardrobe malfunctions” any day rather than listen to this bleating foal.

Ashlee, you no-talent, riding-on-the-tails-of-your-retarded-looking-when-she-sings-sister, do us all a favor and do something more constructive with your talents- like becoming a fluffer at the next Ron Jeremy fuck-a-thon. We all understand that you are trying to portray this “bad girl” anti-Jessica image but, for crying out loud, you suck. You will always live in the shadow of your semi-talented sister so just deal with it.


Journey wrote a song that went something like “When the lights go down in the city…” and I think of it every time I look out from my lanai at the apartment building across from me. It seems like the lights never really out; no matter what time of the day or night there are always lights on this side of the building. I am reminded of a quote from The Matrix where Agent Smith tells Morpheous, “Millions of people just living their lives… oblivious.”

Here are a series of shots of this building showing the fluctuation of lights in respect to the time of day. There is no scientific data printout or social thesis for this observation. I guess it is about as tepid as a research paper but I found it interesting at the time so I went with it.

7 a.m.

7:00 p.m.

10:30 p.m.

2 a.m.

January 3, 2005

Stingy, schmingy

$350 million, a carrier battle group with 400 marines offering help, and millions of dollars of donations from around the world still aren't enough to keep the assholes from bashing the U.S. and its efforts to bring relief to the tsunami victims. Sandra Bullock gave $1M of her own money for crying out loud. I guess it doesn't matter what we do there is always going to be catch 22 for our actions as a nation.

Something that raised an eyebrow with me is that it seems like it is always the dirt poor countries that get rammed with these catastrophes. AIDS epidemics in poor African countries, tsunami victims in poor Asian countries, and then Florida gets hit by 4 hurricanes in close succession. I bring up FL because it seemed like they only showed the trailer parks that got hit. Being from AR I can appreciate that because the local news would always show the mutilated trailer parks after a tornado would bitch slap its way through the state.

It is tragic, it sucks for the survivors and their families, but why shit on people who are sending money, even if it isn't what other people think is the "right" amount, to help people out? That's like the Salvation Army guy waving his bell at me after I dropped some change in his bucket and saying, "Hey pal, you need to give some more."

January 1, 2005

Auld Lang Syne

The carpet is intact, most of the food was eaten, a lot of the alcohol is gone, the last of the dishes are washing and the designated drivers left sober this morning (1 a.m.-ish). I'd say it was a successful NYE celebration.

It is ironic that the rain that is falling on this first day of a new year symbolizes washing away of the old and the two-handed ringing in of the new. The streets around here are making their own gravy in the rain as the fireworks wrappers, puke, booze, and bad memories of 2004 go rushing down the sewers.

To the people read my blog (both of them) I wish you a safe, prosperous, and fun new year.