Welcome to my world! It's sometimes routine, sometimes crazy, and through it all I yearn to travel (and do accomplish some of that).

Location: Everett, Washington

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Every day at approximately 2:30 am, the local area network on the ship goes down. This means that the e-mail server is not available, and the Internet is down as well. It’s not a huge travesty, since I should be diligently working during that time. However, it is a large down time, since we rarely have customers during our 1-3 am customer service hours. So, around that time, I am characteristically either busy working or sitting at the computer sorting through e-mail and surfing online.
A lot of the time in the Navy, I feel stagnated. With my train of thought, I’m thinking that after my time in the Navy is done, I’m going to restart life again. To explain it in other terms, I feel like I’m a tape/CD/videotape that has been paused, and I’m waiting for what I was born to do to resume. Now, granted, I didn’t know what this was before I joined the Navy, and I may not be right in what I think it is now, but I am planning to explore further of what I think it is at the present time. Right now, I am thinking that it would do me good to explore writing as a career, job, or what have you (thing that I’m gifted at, to make money?). The idea of a writer at home during the day, holed up in a room just to write, has some appeal to me. And if I do what I’m thinking of doing, I will have a lot of substance to begin the process. If I stay going at the pace I am now, I may just be left to devote time to combining, editing, and smoothing out my writing. What I am planning to do is make an attempt at a book. I mentioned this in my last entry and have been thinking of it almost constantly since then. I think that by the time I leave the Navy, I will have a working prototype of this made up. In humoring myself, I wrote an "about the author" block the other day, which could go on the back cover of said book. I know indeed that this is like picking out the color of a new car, when you don’t even have a driver’s license…but hey, it was fun! If anyone is interested, I’ll send it to you in hopes it will make you smile or laugh.
The word of the day today is guarana. This is one of the ingredients of a Monster energy drink that is sold onboard the ship. GUARANA - a dried paste made from the seeds of a Brazilian climbing shrub containing tannin and caffeine and used in making an astringent drink, and also used in the cure of headache.

Monday, October 25, 2004

It has definitely been busy the last couple of days. On Sunday morning, I had a long nap due to going down for an hour and not being woken up (as I arranged with someone to do). So, based on that, I was asleep most of the morning, and missed going to church. Right after I woke up, I went up to the flight deck for the picnic. It was an extremely hot day out too, with little to no breeze blowing. They served chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak. I went out there for just long enough to stand in line for food, and eat it. I don’t think I could have taken much longer, and I wanted to try to go to sleep. I tried and had fitful sleep - basically two 2 hour blocks of sleep. Then, I got up and had 3 hours before I was required to go into work. You see, on Sundays, we have our most relaxed day and come into work later.
Monday was another busy day. I wrapped up my night at work by painting in the berthing’s fan room during happy hour. Then, after that, when I should have been getting ready for bed, we had a GQ (general quarters) drill. This kept me up for another couple of hours. After it was done, I went down to the berthing and crashed on the couch. Awaking from that at 1300, I went to my rack for regular sleep. I got 5 more hours of sleep from that point.
I woke up at about 1800, and went into work, only to be greeted by another time change. I stayed in the office, and when 1900 rolled around again, I had to go up to the flight deck to be a phone talker. We had an underway replenishment this evening to get more weapons (bombs/ammunition) onboard. I went up to relieve someone and was up there for 2 and a half hours. It is uncharacteristic for me to be up there at night, but I enjoyed the serenity and silence of it. I looked up and saw the moon with clouds moving across and around it. However, all that in itself wore off quickly, and I had to endure just standing for 2+ hours.
The last couple days I have been thinking, planning, envisioning and writing. I have wholly and completely decided I will try my utmost to combine my journals into a book down the road. I imagined how this would come together with my last log, and begun to write "The Void". "The Void" will be my journal of all the events and tribulations that occurred for me between returning to Washington in May 2003, and leaving on this deployment in October 2004. Then, as well, today I decided I will go back and fill in details from Jan-May 2003, missing from the last journal. This includes thoughts/feelings, events surrounding us turning back to the Gulf, our activities in the war, and homecoming.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Last night, we went through daylight savings time and set the clocks back an hour. This, and all the time zone changes we are going through are effective at exactly the same time that I come into work (7 at night). So, I come into work, and am working an extra hour! I forgot to change my clock, after I got off work, and was going to bed today. So, I woke up at 6:30, and while still having 30 minutes to get ready for work, I realized after a few minutes that my clock was an hour off. It was good that I discovered this quickly, as I was about to wake up my night shift co-workers. I know that they wouldn't have been too happy with this! I discovered it just before turning on all the lights in the berthing, to wake everyone up. So, then I got ready, and organized my clothes in my rack a bit. You see, II did my laundry about a week ago, and had yet to put my clean clothes in my rack. I re-folded all my clothes neater, and then organized the two compartments in my rack where I was putting them.
After finishing that, I went into work, where I discovered that we were going through a time zone change and it was now 1800 (6 pm) and not 1900 anymore. So, it is now 1900 and the start of my day. We've gotten to about the end of the aforementioned project, so I'll have the time to work on my regular work and my own work projects tonight.
One of the things that is totally unique to my job and life on the ship is walking around planes during the course of the day. When I walk through the hangar bay, there are more planes stored there then one can imagine. One has to devise a method of where to walk in/around planes, while steering clear of low parts that a tall person could run into, and walking under wings.
I'm about halfway through another Kerouac book, Lonesome Traveler. I don't remember if I mentioned that I was reading this before now. I received it in the last week, after ordering it off I have the little news to mention that I also found Dharma Bums today while I was going through my rack. I don't know if I will go back to reading it this week, however, as it did have interesting words...but otherwise didn't hold my interest too well. We shall see on that front, eh?
That is it for now. Tomorrow is a steel beach picnic on the flight deck. I'll go into further explanation on that later, if I decide to go. It is taking place during my sleep hours, so that idea is still up in the air.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I have not written any entries in the last couple days due to being busy and having a one day port visit into San Diego. I am so looking fondly forward to my rack. I have worked hard tonight, with no breaks. Now, of course, that is of my own design in order to get productive work done. However, it doesn't change the fact that all the work has made me tired. Through the course of the night, I have gotten about half done with the project that was started tonight. I am working with my night shift supervisor on it, but I have worked a lot harder than he has. The project has been to go through a list of records, and check in the records to see the status of the Page 2 (record of a member's spouse, parents, next of kin with addreesses). We are noting the status on a list, and then doing data entry into that list on Excel. Ughh....3100 records to do that for. So far tonight, I have gone through a list to make the notes on, and have then entered approximately 1200 similar notes on this spreadsheet. My back needs a rest! Enough of this, and of my varied ramblings on the subject.
We pulled into San Diego the other day for a one day visit. I had fun shopping for a few items, and going out walking around downtown San Diego with a few people from the ship's Legal office, and another guy from the Precinct (a Master-At-Arms--similar to a cop out in the regular world).
I wish that I could write longer and of more interesting topic, but I'm beat and pressed for time. I must nourish my body soon, and finish my tasks off. Good day to all!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

If you don't know my personal habits/organizational skills, you don't know that I'm a hoarder. However, I am. I stay relatively up-to-date with articles in the Chicago Sun-Times through internet/e-mail, and they had an article this last week on hoarding. I read it, and was constantly saying "Yep, that's me", upon various hoarding examples. One such example is keeping around free newspapers that you can pick up from places all over town. I do that with both free newspapers, and the ones I buy. For a related real life example, I have bought a Sunday paper in port San Diego before, thrown out the ads, and kept all the other sections unnecessarily. I'm finally getting around to combat this problem by running out of space completely and realizing I can't keep all this junk/paper around forever.
Another example of my hoarding is in my e-mail inbox. Up to yesterday, I had 350 messages in my inbox and had been getting "your mailbox is oversize" e-mails every single day. I now am happy to report that I moved my e-mails into their respective folders (for who they are from), deleted a lot, and am down to 28 e-mails in my inbox currently. If it is at all interesting to you, my folders are: Business, Family, Friends (with 2 sub-folders--Church and Penpals), and Navy.
I started reading Dharma Bums (another Kerouac book) yesterday. I am enjoying it so far, but also wonder what I hope to find in reading it. It's a book about two young men searching for meaning by was of Zen/Buddhism. It does give me plenty to think about however, and words to look up (Bodhisattva for example!!)
So, on that note I'm going to make that the word of the day! Now, in this spot I was going to give props to However, my internet is down right now. I am left with consulting the old, hardback, physical dictionary. According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, a bodhisattva is: (1) one whose essence is enlightenment; (2) a being that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others and is worshiped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism. The internet did just come back up, and adds: One who has reached the highest degree of saintship, so that in his next incarnation he will be a Buddha, or savior of the world. That's all folks!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

As I write this now it’s the early am hours of the 16th. Over the course of the night tonight, it dawned on me that I should figure out whether or not I should write this in terms of the night going into the next day or write on the last half of my previous work day and the first half of the current work day. Any suggestions on style and approach in this regard would be appreciated, from you my readers.
We just got underway, and yet one of my foremost thoughts is being home again. I’m looking forward to heading home a couple weeks of we pull back in, by taking another great cross-country road trip. I’m thinking about places to stop before I get home (to visit people I haven’t seen in a while) to spend a day or so, and then driving perhaps 12 hrs from that place (wherever it may be) to HOME HOME. I do want to drive straight through on both fronts, with accompanying driver(s) on the first leg (that’s looking at 36-41 hours for crossing the country, based on where I choose to go).
I finished reading On The Road (Kerouac) yesterday afternoon (during the several hours where I couldn’t sleep). Now, after I get off work, I must decide what book out of the library (my stock) to read next.
I think that I’m putting too much stuff in parentheses. I hope to be able to stop that in the near future. Hopefully, I won’t have to put so much footnote/background info alongside my words as I get deeper into this endeavor.
Reverting back over the course of the night, I haven’t done too much work, but I was productive from the get go and did get enough work done to satisfy me. As well, I still have several hours to achieve more tasks. During my lunch break, I took a nice half hour nap…because of my aforementioned lack of sleep.
I’m quite surprised that more words of mine have tumbled out of the course of the evening, and basically provided two journal entries in the course of one evening. However, I must remember that the mind is always churning and I usually have enough interesting things to say. Wham, bam, here comes another. Always remember, correspondence is great and feedback is welcome.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Welcome to the Sailor's Log II! If you didn't receive The Sailor's Log two years ago, you most likely have no idea what this is! The story is, that on my first Western Pacific (WEST PAC) deployment, I was bored. I wanted some little project or entertainment to keep me busy aside from (and during) work. Thus, that journal being concocted. It was widely read and enjoyed, as well as me enjoying writing it. From that experiment, comes the sequel...a veteran sailor's second time on deployment! Enjoy!
Last night, I took care of all my errands, and last minute shopping needs necessary before I left town. Then, I went to a co-worker/friend's house for dinner to celebrate his separation from the Navy. It was a lot of fun, and we also enjoyed the company of another fellow who got out of the Navy a couple years ago. He was also in our department, and moved back home to New York post-Navy. Due to having friends in the area, and job possibilities, he decided to return this summer to the Seattle/Everett area. I was glad to see him last night, since it was the first chance I had to meet up with him since he's been back around. After dinner, I met up with a local guy that I connected with through friends back home, and followed him to his parents’ house to park my car for the length of the deployment.
Today was our first day underway, after pulling out of Everett. I started the day off by not getting a lot of sleep. I woke up quite early just because it happened, and got out of bed at about 6:20. I got my dress uniform out of its perch and proceeded to iron it and dress. I was a participant in the "Manning The Rails" ceremony this morning as we pulled out. This entails putting on our dress uniform, going up to the flight deck, and standing around the edge of the flight deck as we pull out of port. It lasts for about 1-1.5 hrs in normal circumstances. This morning, it was so very COLD and hard to take. After that, I was required to participate in Happy Hour. For you novice readers, happy hour is an hour set aside in our day solely for cleaning the ship.
As is my preference, I was designated to be on the night crew for this deployment. This means that I work from 7 at night until 8:30 the following morning. So, after returning to the office after happy hour, I just had to have a little pow-wow with my co-workers and then I was free to go. I, however, had an agenda. I received my absentee ballot (for my first time voting!!) a week or so ago, and I decided that I need to send it out this weekend. I wanted to look online at the presidential candidates websites, and decide today who I wished to vote for. The other (local) offices, I will decide on over the weekend, and mail in my ballot on Sunday or Monday. After this browsing, thinking, etc...I went to bed to wake up about 6 hrs later to get ready for work again. That's all for now. Stay tuned for my next entry tomorrow. Have a good weekend all!