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April 28, 2006

The Easter Bunny Hates You




This is absolutely one of the most original and hilarious homemade videos I have ever seen.

Little kids be warned

April 24, 2006

106th Annual Sub Ball

Friday, April 21 was the 106th annual Submarine Birthday Ball, and event that celebrates the history of the U.S. submarine force with a good program, dinner, drinking, throwing up, mingling with old friends, more drinking and dancing.

The program has been the same for the last 18 years: a guest speaker drones on about something related to submarine history and then a Command Master Chief, who acts as the MC, then introduces all the Chief of the Boats (COB) on the waterfront. It is a recognition ceremony consisting of the COB’s standing in front of the masses. You can tell who the really good COB’s are because the crew carries them in their chair to the stage- it resembles more of a Bar Mitz Vah.


USS LOUISVILLE Chief of the Boat

Preceding dinner was the tolling of the bells performed by a surviving WWII submarine veteran. A bell is rung once as each of the WWII submarine lost in the war is announced. A slide show runs as the names are called showing the sub and members of the crew. It is a somber time that gives us cause to reflect on the sacrifices of real submariners. You could hear a pin drop. Sadly, as the years go by, fewer of the vets are seen at the Sub Ball.

Our office made a centerpiece consisting of a mannequin head wearing a ball cap and headphones. It was an abomination but fun to make. Unfortunately, it was left at the table when everyone left so we are out a $40 head and my ball cap. Oh well, we will just have to treasure the pictures of it instead.

I brought my camera and took a lot of shots of drunk sailors, a fat chick’s dream come true, but the shots taken by friends were blurred beyond recognition- a testament to the precept that you cannot make anything sailor-proof, because even a drunk squid can fuck up an auto focus camera if given the chance.


Shooting the flask. The next picture of her looked like she just licked a shitcicle.


The Sonar table center piece. If you are wondering about the arrow through the head, it isn't a cheap Steve Martin rip-off, it is an anthropomorphic rendition of our rating insignia.


Plenty of cake, cock, and conversation at the Sub Ball.


Navy's finest.


A little improv.


Shitfaced.

April 19, 2006

One for another



There is a disparaging contrast between the latest Islamic suicide bomber, barely old enough to grow facial hair, and the Kamikaze pilots from WWII. I draw attention to the two because they are similar in design in that they both die for their cause or belief system.

What struck me right away was the young Palestinian suicide bomber, Sami Omar. Clad in ceremonial garb in front of the word “god” written behind him, he has a lost and soulless look defined not only by his face but reinforced by his eyes. He has the look of someone that has been told what he is doing is right but still has some reservation in completing the task. More talk of virgins and everlasting life had to have followed this photo. He just doesn’t look convinced that strapping bombs to himself and dying in the name of his god is that great of an idea.

Compare and contrast the video of the Palestinian suicide bomber with the Japanese suicide bombers of WWII. These pilots didn’t have to be suckered in with promises of never ending virgin sex; they volunteered to give their lives in the name of honor. Look at the pilots in the picture and look at their expressions. They are ready to die for their cause and even had their picture taken with a puppy. No doubts on their faces. I am not implying that all tokkotai were jumping around with glee as they got into their airplanes. They just didn’t look like they’d been tricked into doing so.



In both instances, the suicide bombers reveal a desperation for victory. It is the last play in a playbook of a reckless strategist that resorts to using one human life to take out another. As a military member, I have more respect for the Kamikaze trained to suicidally take out military targets than for a lunatic who strolls into a populated area and kills civilians.

April 17, 2006

Today in History

17 APRIL 2005

I have duty today and the 0800-1200 watch. Still waiting on my Small Arms Supervisor Card to get signed off by the Captain so I can stand Duty Chief. He has had my card for 2 weeks.

One of my units decided to fry itself. I was in Sonar and saw something challenging my peripheral vision. I looked out the forward door of sonar and saw every submariner’s worst fear- smoke.

This wasn’t the usual light smoke wisp so common in that area of the boat. It was white billowing smoke and it was headed my way. As I was running to the unit and hollering “Smoke in CSES! Smoke in CSES!” a fellow sonarman popped out from around the corner, his eyes as big as mine. He was the Duty Chief and started to run to the control room to carry out the initial actions for this casualty. I made the report on the 4MC, a circuit used to report casualties, and headed to the control room also. As the Duty Chief he called the casualty away on our general announcement circuit and the boat sprang into action. Well, it was a Saturday so there were only 15 people in the forward compartment not including the Duty Officer who was topside.

As the off-going watch it is my responsibility to rig the forward compartment for the casualty which consists of turning off ventilation fans, vent heaters and rigging fire hoses. By the time I grabbed the rigging bill (checklist) and ran to the forward part of the ship a hose team had already made it to the space where the smoke was coming from and was ready to attack the fire.

The last bit of heavy smoke had naturally made its way to the hatch, the mere construction of the ship lending to this action, and there was just a haze in the compartment where the smoke started, no more annoying than a smoky bar would be.

Clad and surrounded in rubber, I opened the panel to the suspected and perhaps deranged unit. It was hot to the touch, as noticed by the Duty Officer. I told him that it wasn’t a good idea to touch a metallic surface on a unit that just suffered a casualty. He pointed out that he did use the back of his hand, which I pointed out would conduct electricity just as effectively as his palm. He got that “Man, am I stupid” look so I left it alone.

A quick inspection of the unit revealed a leaking electrical component that dripped oil onto a fan assembly- the equivalent of an overflowing quiche onto the hot oven elements below. The circuit card was replaced to the tune of $3000 of the taxpayer’s money and to save Uncle Sam a little chump change I thoroughly cleaned out the fan unit to near perfect inspection quality. I figure the money I saved on that assembly could be used to buy a few hundred high caliber rounds for a Marine sniper in Iraq.

Of course no submarine casualty would be complete without the ‘critique’, the Navy’s new 4-letter word. Not a fault-finding gathering, it is used as a tool for fact finding to be incorporated into a lessons learned report. Of course if in the event it comes out that someone was directly responsible for the event then a good ass reaming will follow.

Just another day in the submarine Navy.

All this water and not a drop to swim in

One thing that sea duty restricts but shore duty allows for is time off. The duty-free weekends are plentiful and calls to come to work are almost non-existent.

I took the fam to North Shore Saturday for some beach time and a cookout. We arrived earlier than normal and I was starting to worry about the status of the beach; we had passed a small sign posted next to a beach access point that had the word “sewage” on it.

The lady at the mini-mart told my wife that there was in fact a sewage spill, more like a slick from the looks of it, but that the Department of Health said the bacteria levels were ok in this small stretch of beach but that no locals would be found in the water. She also said if you do get in the water to drink 2 gallons of orange juice to ward off any potential infections. Two gallons? What if I just drank 1.8 gallons, would that be ok? These are the same people who told me to feed my kid poi to get him up to speed on the age/weight chart.

We had the cookout and built sand castles but didn’t get in the water. Sometimes playing it safe outweighs the call for frolic.

Burned some flicks
My wife watched Brokeback Mountain while I played my computer game. I glanced over a few times and caught the gist of the movie. It wasn’t a gay fest and the brothel scene in Caligula had more graphic imagery than this movie. BBM reminded me of Alien- you never really saw the alien kill the people on that ship, but you knew something bad happened to them. After “watching” this movie I became even more pissed that It’s Hard to be a Pimp won best score. I loved the guitar and downloaded the tab to learn the song. It took me about a half hour of playing to nail it.

But it is still about gay cowboys.

Last night my wife and I watched Capote and I must say that was the longest hour and forty minutes of my life. I would rate that flick as just “OK” but more than that if reaffirmed my notion that the Oscar nominated movies are a load of crap- some are good and some are bad and I’ll just use my gut to determine which movies I will go see.

April 14, 2006

Today in history (playing catch-up)

12 APRIL 2005

- Got relieved at 0200 this morning and was up for a fire drill at ~0730; for once they started the drill sets on time.

- Had the 1130-1530 watch. Absolutely nothing going on in sonar. Half of it is down for the nuke drills coming up.

- Sonar is acting funny after the nuke drills, something about losing power without notice- for ump-teenth time. When will these fuckers learn you can't just cut power to a multi-million dollar sonar system and not fry components. I bet they don't just pull the plug on their computers at home to turn them off. If the taxpayers knew how much money they spent on all the sonar systems in the submarine force because of this ridiculousness they would beat every C.O. with a rubber hose on sight.

- Well, it seems the powers that be can't keep the egg off their face. Stressing the shit out of the crew and the shipboard equipment has now resulted in a real fire. There was just a 1MC announcement from the C.O. about whether or not we are going to pull in.

- Squadron told us to get the hell in port. So we are pulling unexpectedly and, what a surprise, I have duty.

13 APRIL 2005

- Another kick to the balls, I have the 0230-0730 watch which means I will only get a few hours of sleep before we pull in. Since I have duty today I just not count of getting any sleep today at all.

- Nobody can leave the boat until we get the word on what we are going to do about the fire. Hurry up and wait, aye.

- Well, we are going to head over to another pier tomorrow to get the damaged equipment taken care of. Of course our whole underway has been cancelled and we will go critical on the reactor to move the boat 400 yards. Normally we would just deadstick~

Author's note:
Deadstick- Moving the ship by use of tug boats. The reactor is shut down and the ship snorkels for light electrical loads. It isn't as hard on the nukes and they get to take a break for a change.


~ but this C.O. would rather stress the crew. "That's not how submarines operate!" Right, well we've seen what happens when we operate the boat under your methods- we have fires.

- To further stress the crew, nobody is allowed to go home today and must stay onboard until the berth shift. Well, the hotrackers are allowed to go home but everyone else must tell their families to suck it up and miss one more night of sleeping with their spouse in the 2 weeks we have left in port before our 6 month deployment.

*Author's note:
Hotracking- a term used to describe the sleeping arrangements unique to a submarine. There are only 91 racks for E-7 and below to occupy but there are about 100 of these guys onboard. This number doesn't include extra people that ride the submarine (inspectors, for example). So, the solution is to put more racks in the torpedo room but if that can't be done 3 people will share 2 racks. Each person is in a different section (1,2 or 3). When one is on watch the other 2 are in the rack (yeah, right) and then one of the two guys will relieve the one on watch, hence the racks never get cold- hotracking.


- To occupy our time today, since everyone is onboard, we will field the boat from 1600-1900. God forbid we should just be able to relax and take advantage of some down time.

- To calm the masses, it has been put out that Friday will now be a boat holiday. If you don't have duty you do not have to come to the boat. "Boat holidays" are the civilian equivalent of a blowjob after a huge fight. The girl knows she was wrong and put her husband/boyfriend through a load of bullshit so to compensate she blows him in an effort to try and erase the pain.

April 13, 2006

Forces in opposition

I don't know how the Pysical Readiness Tests (PRT) work in other branches of the military but Navy's PRT program is truly a joke. I have to say that sailors, when compared to Army or Marines, are grossly out of shape. If you have any doubts just look at how many overweight Chiefs there are. Even Hollywood captured the true image of a lot of sailors. In Crimson Tide the Chief of the Boat (COB) was a fat fuck that could barely fit in his seat on the bus as he barked out orders for some seaman do start doing pushups in the aisle, which by the way is a load of crap. In the real submarine force that seaman would have told the COB to go shit in a hat and that is only if the COB was gay enough to pull something like that in the first place. But I digress.

On submarines, the PRT program is pitted against the healthy lifestyle required to pass its minimum requirements. These requirements are a function of age and the older you get the less you have to do.

I have talked to many an Army soldier and Marine and they are all in concurrence that our PRT program is for little girls (and that is a slam on the girls). I am 68 inches tall and weigh 155 lbs. According to the Navy’s chart I could weigh up to 181 lbs before I am out of standards!

I fall in the 35-39 year category so the bare minimum I would have to do to pass this test is 33 push ups, 40 sit ups, and run 1.5 miles in 14:45. I can almost walk it. It was only 4 years ago that I started to really get in shape by running 3 times a week and doing some light lifting. Before that time I belonged to the “3 Mile a Year” group and it took its toll on me each time I ran. But really, all you have to do is jut keep running no matter what the pace and you will make your time. I proved that time and time again.

But I didn’t come here to trash the Navy’s PRT program but rather how the submariner lifestyle just doesn’t seem to cooperate with the Navy’s push for healthier and fitter sailors.

Food
Everywhere you turn the Navy has some kind of poster up or articles to read on the Navy’s web portal about physical fitness and nutrition. After you are through reading this information you can then proceed to any one of the many fast food restaurants scattered throughout every Naval installation in the world. As I walked back from the gym today my olfactory was bombarded by the grilled goodness of Burger King, then by the wave of delight from a Woody’s Hotdog stand until that was drowned out by that awesome smell of baking bread from Subway. Granted Subway sandwiches are probably the healthiest thing our base has. We even have the huli-huli chicken stands not too far from where I work.

Sadly, I am in charge of stocking our office refrigerator full of garbage. I tried to buy healthy stuff but I got death threats from people in my office. So, I have to stock up on frozen chimichangas, White Castles, egg rolls, pizzas and breakfast biscuits. If you aren’t into these 400+ calorie delights then just look on top of the fridge for snickers, Mrs Fields, beef jerky, granola bars and popcorn. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy then you can also have string cheese and wash it down with one of the many sodas, ice tea, or Red Bull. I do keep bottled water and tuna pouches for people who are at least trying to watch what they eat. Hell, I even buy fruit every once in a while but it goes bad before it gets eaten.

So, it appears I am contributing to the very thing I am protesting against. The underlying issue with our little office snack shack is that the money goes back to us in the form of office parties. We can have bigger and better parties with the quick cash form junk food than with the meager proceeds from healthy food.

It all comes down to that much debated gift of free will. Whether it be to resist the temptations of Satan to mow down the entire DMV department with an Uzi or select an apple instead of a Hot Pocket, free will, will power, choice, or whatever form of the word you want to use rests with the person. But the ability to blame the person for their poor diet habits is as far as that gift can be towed. It cannot be used to hold a person accountable for other social faux pas such as being a shitty parent, spilling hot coffee on your crotch, getting shot for breaking into someone else’s house or, in many examples I’ve seen in my 18 year Naval career, be held responsible for a pesky DUI.

It is ultimately up to the individual to pass up the junk food, eat the shitty food on the boat, and pass up an extra hour of otherwise deprived sleep to get in some time on a treadmill (tied down next to reduction gears that put out 120 degrees of heat) or on a bicycle that is a borderline safety hazard.

Lifestyle
The lifestyle aboard a submarine can be compared to a criminally negligent endentured service program run by the Germans. Instead of possessing a great military mind and gift of free speech, the submarine force is plagued with leaders (I use that term loosely) who are socially inept, clueless and outright dangerous. Don’t get too hung up on my Navy bashing so far because I have had outstanding leaders and supervisors that cared about their guys and procedures be damned!

It is always the few in charge that make it miserable for the masses. One shitty Commanding Officer and Chief of the Boat can drive the crew morale into the dirt. What does this have to do with physical readiness, you ask? Inept, inefficient, and ineffective leaders make more work for everyone under them which then translates into less time off the boat, less time in the rack, and just a general pissed off attitude. Who wants to go run in the engine room when, during the 12 hours you have off underway, each hour is whittled away with training, cleaning, training, maintenance, drills and then training? Bottom line, we get fat. We get stressed. Both of these factors are detrimental to good health.

So, in opposition, life on shore duty should promote a healthier lifestyle, right? It should, and for me it does, but I see people take the 2-3 year shore duty time when they aren’t going to sea and get complacent. The 2-3 months of taking it easy after being on a submarine for 4 years turns into an entire tour of sitting on their ass.
But as the Navy’s PRT program becomes more stringent its lifestyle becomes more demanding. Three PRT failures in 4 years will get you kicked out of the Navy. They don’t even have to be consecutive. There are a lot people concerned about the retention numbers since this new program came out.

Everything goes in cycles in the Navy and this too will subside. But the one tacit that hasn’t changed in Navy policy is the fact that it is alright to be a shit bag or suck a dick- as long as your aren’t fat.

April 11, 2006

Today in History

11 April 2005

The LOUISVILLE has been inport now after a month long underway to and from San Diego- well, the waters off of San Diego including the harbor, but not one foot on dry land even after pulling intot he harbor 3 times to bring on extra people, food, and parts.

Bastards.

0700 Today we had to be on the boat at 0500 so that we could get underway at 0900. Gotta love that no-sleep thing before an underway. I am writing this part as I sit here at Officer/LPO call listtening to the Captain try to explain to us what a good deal it is to get this underway in.. instead of spening it with our families with an upcoming 6 month deployment?

1030 Ship is underway and the maneuvering watch has been secured. I came down from topside in to the belly of tHe beast but not before I got my last breath of air, free from chemicals and made by Mother Nature, not by the Father of the Oxygen Generator. Yet again, my section takes the normal watch and I get to bob around on the surface until we submerge. Of course the C.O. wants to run the Navigation Training channel off the coast of Waikiki, another slap in my face as I look at the occasional shot towards the beach on the periscope repeater in Sonar.

1130 Sweet, I just got relieved. We are switching to the Vulcan Death Watches* so I do get some rack time before my watch at 1930. Bunky, here I come!

1500 Can't sleep. Got up and read until dinner (1730). Went back to the rack.

1815 Writing this in the rack. Still can't sleep. WTF?

1830 Wake ups. Some jackass opened my curtain to tell me to wake up. I hate that. This rack is like the only private place I have. I shit on him and told him not to open curtains.

1930 Relieved the watch. Everyone is dead tired. I have a pretty good section so the chit-chat should keep me awake until 0200 when I get relieved. The focus of this watch will be to stay awake which is a difficult task with Moon Pie (nicknames used to protect the innocent and/or stupid) on the primary safety-of-ship stack.

I have subscribed to the fact that stuidity is its own reward whenever I think about the shit that goes on inside this submarine. For security reasons I can't go into it in much detail on this forum but I truly believe that what comes around goes around. The few idiots that make the lives of the masses miserable will get thiers.

I have seen it happen many times and like some twisted Lion King plot the circle of stupidity is reborn. The only comfort one can take is that you will transfer soon, the asshole responsible for making your life miserable will transfer soon, get fired and kicked off the boat, or die in a submarine mishap.

*Vulcan Death Watches- During a normal underway, submariners stand watch on a 6 On/12 Off cycle. For example, I stand 6 hours of watch in the Sonar shack and then I am off for 12 hours before I am on watch again. Essentially, we work on an 18-hour day and time-of-day becomes relative. Looking at your watch, you wonder if it is the 0400 wake up or the 1600 wakup. Only when one finds out what is for chow do you know for sure.

Vulcan Death Watches are a useless watchstanding configuration that the Commanding Officer and Engineer believe will 1)Maximize drill time by running the drills in an acccelerated off watch cycle and, 2)Maximize sleep for the crew. Instead of 6 on and 12 off, the watch routine is changed to a 4/4/4/6/6 watchstanding cycle. So, imagine working with this type of work/sleep routine. It stresses the crew, serves no usefull purpose for drills other than turning the underway into an experiment on sleep depravation, and just plain pisses people off. The meals become soup-downs to facilitate watch reliefs which means freezer burnt bologna, shitty cheese, and smashed commercial bread or shitty homemade bread.

April 10, 2006

Big Red


There are some new photos of the surface of Mars. I am so fascinated by this red planet and the prospects of it supporting life, or more specifically, human life.

Here is a slideshow of the most recent event and for all you Earth-is-flat/Fake moonlanding conspires you'll be pleased to know that some of the photos look like parts of the U.S. Southwest.

Attention NASA: If you need a body to travel to Mars (I hear it only takes about 6 months or so to get there) I will be happy to offer my services. I think that 18+ years on submarines more than qualifies me for the trip.

Slacking

It has been a few days since I have posted anything, party because I have been on other blogs giving my two cents, but also because I am working on a segment I will call "This day last year".

I was stationed on the USS LOUISVILLE and I a kept meticulous journal, mainly for my upcoming book when I retire, but also to keep track of all the fuck jobs I got throughout my career. It seems the human mind is very resilient to psychological pain and tends to forget the bad stuff, especially when it comes to submarine life.

I aspire to write a no-shit account of my Navy career through the eyes of a submariner- stuff that Tom Clancy only bullshits about and has no real idea of how things really work on a boat.

So, anyway, I will kick off this project tomorrow. I am working on a recount of an underway last March where we were gone for the entire month, nice of them to do that to us right before we deployed for 6 months, and did some exercises off of San Diego.

April 6, 2006

"Apology accepted, Captain Neda"

This is the statement from the Dark Sith Lord Vader as he crushes the trachea of an incompetent Imperial Officer that I would have liked, at least in some kind of analogous circumstance, have seen happen to Congressperson McKinney when she apologized today after her week long rant of racial profiling and trying to smokescreen her childish actions.

Instead, I'll settle for her non-reelection next term.

April 4, 2006

The trump

Rep. Cynthia McKinney has been in the news for a while now after she threw her cell phone at an officer who would not let her enter the Capitol building with her identification.

There are 2 things wrong with that. Number one, you don't throw shit at people. Number two, bring your freakin I.D. with you, asshole.

I work on a military base and there is absolutely no reason for htem to admit anyone onto base with out their miltitary I.D. AAMOF, I was pulled into the search area by an officer whom I had met a few days earlier. She asked for my I.D. driver's license, insurance, registration, and safety inspection. I am quite sure that I would have been refused access to base if I had been lacking any one of those items.

This woman works in a government building and her defense for not having her credentials is that the officer should have recognized her. Say, what? Even if that is true, it is a requirement to have identification to enter that bilding. Period.

Instead of just accepting and admitting to the public that she acted inappropriately and should not have expected preferential treatment she played the race card. McKinney and her lawyers appeared on CNN and turned everything Blitzer said into a race issue, dodging questions and making themselves out to be Johnny Cochran reincarnated. Here is a clip of the interview.

Fuck them and fuck McKinney. Her pride is turning this into a circus. She has as much business getting in to her building as a black congress woman without the required credentials as I do trying to get on base as a peon E-6 without mine.

April 2, 2006

Rain, rain, go away


After 42 consecutive days of rain, flash floods, mudslides, and such this weekend finally gave a little reprieve. I packed the family up and we headed to Hickam beach. We had barely gotten our feet wet and started to feel the warm sun when the lifeguards kicked everybody off the beach because of the a thunderstorm warning.

I had seen lightning and heard thunder in the mountains as we arrived at the beach but didn't think much of it- it looked like it was going to be just a typical afternoon mauka shower. We ate at the Sand Bar and Grill next to the beach and waited for the rain to hit.

It never did. People were back on the beach and if we had brought another water proof diaper for the bambino we would have given it another shot. But I had an extended belly from the kalua pork sandwich I just woofed down.

I'm certainly not having a pity party here or ask for any sympathy- I live in Hawaii for crying out loud and beach-going is a daily event at least on some part of the island. But after 42 straight days of rain, enough already! I'm starting to look like a tourist with my pasty white skin.

April 1, 2006

Walk the Line: My review


After all the hype from this years Oscars I am finally getting around to my NetFlix queue of the movies. Last night my wife and I saw Walk the Line and I must say that I was entertained but not really that impressed.

I am a big fan of Johhny Cash and Juaquin Pheonix played him very well, he sounded more like Johnny Cash than Reese Witherspoon sounded like June Carter, but the movie wasn't Oscar worthy in my opinion. It was drawn out in some areas and didn't keep my attention. Not a bad movie, just not as entertaining as Episode 5- or any of the Star Wars Quintilogy - or as my first Oscar movie review of Crash.

Definately not worthy enough to make an illegal copy of because I just woulnd't want to to see it more than once.