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November 24, 2005

"No more buh-wets?"

In the immortal words of Bugs bunny as he watches Elmer Fudd dry fire his shotgun, I too am out of bullets. Well, in a few weeks it will be official but I will dedicate November 21, 2005 as my own V-Day.

I had a vasectomy, long overdue in fact, and I am now recovering from the 'minor surgery'. It was a fast process, only 20 minutes, and surprisingly 800mg Motrin keeps the pain at bay.

There is no anesthesia involved with the procedure and is much safer than a woman's tubal. Guys, it is a myth that it is easier for the woman to get her tubes tied after she has given birth. The only thing that is easier is that she is already in the hospital for her delivery. That's it. If you are thinking of getting a permanent solution to not have any more kids get a vasectomy.

I will spare you the details of the procedure but it is safe to say that when the doctor said after he bee sting feeling of the needle piercing the top of my scrotum I would feel a kick to the nuts as the needle numbs the nerve that it certainly was a kick- by a freakin mule. I rose up off the table and clinched the paper mat I was laying on. The pain subsided as the numbing effect of the local took over but I was really dreading the shot to the port side of my scrotum. Surprisingly, the shot to the left side hurt even more and the doctor said that was normal.

He showed my the pieces of my vas deferens that he cut off and told me that it was the largest vas he'd ever seen. Yeah, baby, props to the vas! Unfortunately, I couldn't keep them as they get sent off to pathology to verify that they are indeed vas. So what happens if pathology says that it isn't vas? What the hell else could it be?

The shot was the worst part of procedure but the recovery is just inconvenient. I walk like Fred Sanford with a log in his pants, it hurts when I cough, sneeze, talk loudly, walk, stretch, laugh, or breathe deeply. Other than that it isn't so bad. I kept ice on my sack for 15 minutes out of every hour and it really helps with the pain and the swelling. There is a little bruising but nothing too bad. It was a scalpel-less procedure and too my surprise there were no stitches. I'll have to get rid of a few pairs of underwear though- I can take a few shitstains but blood is nasty.

I learned a lot about my anatomy during this process and realized that there is a very complicated set of tubes and valves down there. In fact, I have to abstain from sex for at least 10 days- hey Doc, no problem, buddy. I have to whack off in a specimen cup and run it to the lab in 6 weeks after "approximately 15-20 ejaculations" to ensure there are no dudes swimming around. 15-20? That's it? Phht, I can do that in a weekend. Surprisingly, the sperm that is made is missing the tail and then after a while the testicles are like, "What the hell am I wasting my time with this for?" and stop making sperm all together.

That's it for the scoop on vasectomies. I'll be glad to get in to more graphic detail that you wish to help clear things up. I had a private party with my wife the night before my surgery to say goodbye to my little swimmers but I plan on having a going away party for my sperm at Buca de Bepppo's as soon as I can walk again. I am torn between having everyone wear either black clothes (like a funeral) or white clothes to commemorate the good times me and my sperm have had over the years- starting in my adolescence with a Penthouse and a few squirts of Jergens.

Oh, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

November 17, 2005

Homecoming 2005

After 6 months the USS LOUISVILLE returned to Pearl Harbor yesterday- another successful deployment to the Western Pacific behind them.

Watching a submarine fade off into the distance from the pier is one of the most sombering experiences for me. Although I have only missed one underway in the 12 years I have been riding subs, I have seen them on many occasions at sea and from the shore going off to protect our waters. A surfaced submarine one of the most loneliest-looking things I have ever seen, if there is such an anthropomorphic sight. It looks out of place, the only sign of life perhaps a few figures on top of hte sail poking their heads up and the white wash following behind.

It is an especially uplifting sight to see one pull in. The environment that we submariners operate in is in a constant flux of conflict- the ocean around us always trying to find a way in, the hydraulic, air, water, and steam systems always trying to find a way out of their captive piping. It is an unforgiving environment, one of the most dangerous in the Navy, and our policies and procedures are literally written in blood from the fallen comrades who came before us. A homecoming represents a victory for the crew against all elements that are in a perpetual battel to do us harm- this includes those enemies of the world who patrol the oceans for whom we must be on guard.

It was good to see old friends return from a journey marred with internal struggles and opposing outside forces. You could feel the tension in the air from the wives, girlfriends, soon-to-be wedded girls, and family members.

It seemed like an eternity to watch the sub bounce off the pier bumpers and get tied up, to wait for the brow to go across, and for the red carpet, barrier ropes, and arhway at the end of the brow to be set up. it seems like a nice welcoming gesture but it just holds up the people who just want to get off that boat and see their families, have a beer, and take a shower in their own home.

No Hawaii homecoming would be complete without the lei around the sail, ukulele players, hula dancers, and food and drink waiting on the pier. I had something special for my old sonar division- Jello shots in syringes (yes, real Jello 'shots'). Ironically I was told by a LCDR, prompted by a civilian woman (who I basically told to go shit in a hat when she said myae that wasn't a good idea to pass out) that since a photographer form the Honolulu Advertiser was here taking pictures that maybe I should wait until he leaves.

With as much respect as I could muster for this officer, I told him that there was a keg of beer in the direction of my finger and that there were people hanging lei's with Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, and Stoly wrapped in them. Jello shots were the least of the problem. He started to say something but he trailed off as 3 of my old shipmates ran over to me and grabbed the shots which I had promised 2 months earlier.

I went down when things got a little less hectic and grabbed a few things that I had left when I transferred. My wife was there and even though I wasn't returning form the deployment with them she still got a little teary eyed and realized that this is how a homecoming should be. I was comforted that this was the first and last homecoming my family will ever have to endure while I am in the Navy.

November 14, 2005

the torture debate

I must give credit where credit is due. Tonight I had an almost epiphanic realization on the use of torture by the U.S. to gain information vital to national security.

The US Senate voted 90-9 early last month to attach an amendment authored by Republican Senator John McCain to a defense-spending bill that would prohibit “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment of detainees in US custody.

I am a big fan of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and tonight’s episode had Senator John McCain as a guest. Stewart briefly mentioned the Senator’s captivity and abuse in Hanoi but McCain’s focus was on his bill to prevent torture. McCain made a point that made me step back and reconsider my stance on pro-torture.

First, I must clarify that I think torture, however you want to interpret it, should be able to be a tool to gain information that could prevent harm or death to others, more specifically, administered to terrorists. The Geneva Convention already has a law in place to protect POW’s. The back of my military ID says Geneva Convention Category 2, which I assume translates to a chart that my captors would have taped to their wall in the interrogation room.

McCain’s amendment extends that courtesy to “detainees in US custody”. Let me see, where do we have detainees in US custody?

The Senator from AZ commented on a parallel between the use torture and the State of Israel. Specifically, Israel does not use torture and it passed a law in 1999 prohibiting its use. McCain goes on to say that if Israel can refrain from torture, given the environment they live in where terrorists attack them daily, then why can’t the US?

Stewart then brought up that torture only works on TV and in the movies. It seemed like a good argument but, as I always do when I run into a conflicting opinion, I decided to check some of the facts from the interview.

I was surprised to see the amount of returns I got when I did a google search for “Israel torture ban”. To my surprise I found a lot of articles to the contrary. I thought that this claim seemed a little Pollyanna-ish. That’s like saying rappers have united to strike the “N” word from all their music.

In reference to torture not being effective except in Hollywood I would also have to disagree. Although McCain is a testament to the strength and resiliency of POW’s not all POW’s are the same. And now I must step back and use some proper terminology. You see, the GC reserves humane treatment for POW’s and terrorists do not fall under that category of wartime prisoners. Perhaps we haven’t been attacked in 4 years because of the techniques we are using to extract information?

The more I thought about it the more pissed off I got at the Senator. I can hear the rebuttals now:

“If we use torture we are no better than the terrorists”
Wrong. This is an argument meant to divert thinking away from protecting ourselves and turn it towards a pseudo-moralistic code or even worse, to instill an almost insane sense of guilt. Are we to be no better than the person who is executed for raping and killing a 10-year old girl? Of course we are. Imposing or enforcing capitol punishment does not put that person on the same level as the person who is being executed.

“We have an image to uphold to the rest of the world and using torture tarnishes that image.”
Why should we give a shit? Seriouysly, how many countries help us when our asses are handed to us? The help we give the world is grossly out of proportion to the help we receive.

Show me a moral objection in the use of torture for self-defense. People are quick to lie, cheat, steal, and kill in the name of self-defense. Why do people get so bent when it is used to safeguard our nation? I addressed this issue in a previous blog post so I will let that horse lie.

If torture is used, however, for crying out loud people leave the cameras at home.

Apartments can really suck

I know this probably isn't news to anyone who has lived in one. Whenever a group of people are in close proximity to each other there is always conflict. For crying out loud, I rode submarines for almost 12 years- you can't get any closer than that to a group of people.

My bathroom ceiling has rotted out because the guy above me has a leak from his shitter. It took weeks to convince him that it was actually his toilet however, even after a contractor ripped a hole in my ceiling to see the underside of his floor.

The issue is money (isn't it always?) and who's insurance will cover the cost of the repair. An interesting caveat arose when the contractor pulled wet rotted newspaper from the pipes around the toilet. It was obvious to me that the people who renovated my bathroom (inlcuding new drywall ceiling tiles) saw the leak, and in true Hawaii work ethic fashion, just tried to cover up the problem instead of fixing it.

So, I have a hole in my ceiling with a plastic bag taped over the hole to prevent the debris and water that falls into my bathroom from above. Last weekend this jackass that lives above me, still in denial, poured a mixture of blue water all over his floor. Fortunately, my wife heard the water dripping and the plastic bag taped to the ceiling was about to come down. I ran upstairs and told the guy what was going on and this ass clown says, "Well, I thought if you ran up here then I guess the leak really was coming from my place." He then told his wife to sop up the water and wring it out in the tub.

Who the hell does a leak test at 9:00 p.m. without telling the people below? A freak from Neptune who is here collecting data on the human race by living among them.

November 12, 2005

Veteran's Day splish-splash

It's nice when you get a day off, especially in the military. We went to the water park (yes, I know, "What the heck is a water park doing in Hawaii?") and realized a few days before that it was military appreciation day. It was packed to the hilt and the lines were long but it was a good time. Especially frustrating was the long line to the Cliffhanger (not to mention the 30 minute wait outside the park to get in), a 50 foot or so drop straight down, because after a 20 minute wait the ride was over in about 2 seconds. Oh well, fun is always as fleeting as Jessica Simpson's acting career.

If I may be shallow for a minute, and I will since this is my blog, I do feel better about my little potbelly after a day at the waterpark. My wife keeps telling me it's not that bad but then again she also says she wouldn't do Brad Pitt. I just can't trust someone who's judgment is that misaligned.

Maybe I'm just getting desensitizing to the cottage cheese legs and bellies jiggling around like Santa after an all-you-can-eat buffet a week before Christmas Eve. And the men were almost as bad. One good thing about being that fat is that you really build up momentum on those slides! I just couldn't beat them; I had to race a borderline anorexic girl on the Cliffhanger to get some self esteem back.

I took this shot the other day mid afternoon and it has been the same scene for 2 days now in a row. I'll never get tired of looking off my lanai at this.

November 7, 2005

Dirty White Boy

I had my first racial slur hurled at me yesterday by some kids who live in my neighborhood. I will admit that I am suprised it took this long before I caught one- just over 12 years living in Hawaii.

As I was driving back home after a ice day at the zoo with my family I noticed some kids in their mid-teens throwing a footbal around in the street at the entrance to the cul de sac to my apartment building. I have seen these kids before and watched them run in front of traffic chasing the football.

I slowed and then stopped at the entrance as this kid with the football ran close to my truck not paying attention to what he was doing. Five or six of his friends were in the middle of the crosswalk but only half of them noticed I drove up. I gave a quick honk to let them know I was there.

I didn't look at htem as I drove by and as I got a few truck lengths away from them one of them yelled "Who are you honking at, white boy?"

I put my breaks on and was going to jump out and say something, anything, I guess, but the voice of reason, who was sitting next to me, told me to keep going.

At first I was pissed but then I thought that this kid was just trying to save face in front of his friends because he got honked at. Then I realized that maybe he was just shit-talking but maybe he is just that ignorant. As a side note, I have had the Foreigner song Dirty White Boy stuck in my head ever since.

When faced with confrontation some people have nothing to fall back on but racial epithets or slurs when it is apparent they are in the wrong. A heated conversation falls apart when the loser resorts to "Yeah, well screw you nigger!", or "Oh yeah? Go suck a dick faggot!"

It is thse people that ensure race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious preference will always be at the forefront of the attack, but never the issue or courtesy of talking to someone like a good human.

Unlike the 8 year old kid I heard at the at the zoo asking his parents, "Get me something for drink", the ignorance of these teens will be harder to fix. It is already rooted in them and eats away at the 'Aloha Spirit' I hear so much about on the islands.

I don't know what this kid was mad at, but it wasn't me. It was something far greater than the honk of my horn.

November 2, 2005

Tricks and Treats

The family dressed as someone different this year but since I spent so much time on this costume last year I figured I would get some more mileage out of it.

A Tusken, not a Storm Tropper, not a Sand trooper, not a (if you can believe th is) a mechanized Samurai. It is hard to believe kids and parents can be this clueless about Star Wars. This one lady said, "Nice costume! What are you?" It is a good thing she couldn't see the What-are-you-A-dumbass? look under the mask.