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

Monday, November 29, 2004

The ship is once again out to sea for another while till our next port visit. We pulled out this morning, and I didn’t have to do the muster report. Someone who was in the office early, was doing this already when I got in, this morning.
My Thanksgiving celebration was really spectacular. It was indeed, as I imagined, a way I will probably not have the opportunity to do again on Thanksgiving. We started off the night by meeting up at 3:30 in the afternoon, but not being able to get on the buses to Paradise Cove for an hour after that. Once on the bus, it was a 30-40 minute trip to the spot. The locale itself was very tropical, with straw/tiki-like booths set up all over the place, and right alongside a beach. We walked through various lanes/gates, and were greeted by getting lei’d. Also upon arrival, we had nearly 2 hour before dinner was served. During this time, we were able to walk the grounds, browse the little shopping booths they had, and enjoy various games/activities. I went ahead and tried throwing a spear. However, I missed the bulls-eye. Everyone who tried it received a shell lei…so then I had two!
Just before dinner was served, there was a small ceremony in the amphitheater involving digging the pig out of the ground, and poi samples being given out. Upon my mother’s suggestion, I wanted to try poi at the luau, if they had it. I didn’t come upon the ceremony/ritual until the end though, when the women serving the poi (to folks who wanted a taste of it) were packing up. We then moved on to dinner. This consisted of the pig in shredded portions, chicken, fish, and rice. Dessert was a kind of coconut cake, with pineapple and a small gelatin-like cube on the side. I skimmed the coconut off mine, and then just ate the cake and the pineapple. Along with the food, there was a great consumption of tropical beverages consumed by those attending. This was due in large part to being able to get unlimited mai tai’s, included with the more expensive of the two tickets. Now, before you get worried, I had a few and didn’t over do myself (as those few were well-spaced out over the whole evening). Along side those, I drank guava juice, passion orange, and pop.
The show itself, after dinner, included many things. There was a large Samoan guy that was the emcee for the night. He led the audience through some history, and then various performances began. Among things that were displayed were: hula girls, guys/girls dancing all across the stage in whatever kind of dance it was (maybe Polynesian), a fire-dancing fellow who had 1-2 sticks of fire at various times, and then as well they brought quite a few audience members on-stage to show off their limited skills as hula dancers (after a short lesson).
One of my other major events in the last few days in Hawaii was shopping. On the day after Thanksgiving, I went out with a group of guys I work with and hung out at the mall most of the day, after going to a flea market that was near the base. I walked through the mall and looked at a few stores, bought remaining Christmas gifts, and then hit up clothes sales for myself. Without intending to initially, I spent more money on myself than on the aforementioned Christmas gifts. However, I think that I did complete my Christmas shopping, and thought I would present myself with gifts. I bought all the clothes at Sears, and most for 30-50% off their normal price. These purchases were: new Hawaii t-shirt, three button short-sleeve Henley, button-down striped Oxford shirt, jeans, and a pair of striped lounge pants. Other times in/around the described activities were spent on base, and largely at the liberty center(s). They have a couple liberty centers that have restaurants in them, inter-net access, movies shown, comfortable furniture, pool tables, juke box, and more. Oh, and I did l laundry too!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The last few days have been in-port Hawaii. The first day was a liberty day (but I had duty), then the next two days we were scheduled to run force protection drills. We were not scheduled to be able to leave the ship until the end of the work day on that second day of the drills (Wednesday). However, they suspended the drills Tuesday to give us liberty that night, and then on Wednesday the drills were complete before noon. So, it all worked out good.
On Tuesday night, I stayed on base and went to one of the liberty centers on base. I played rummy with someone, got something to eat, watched a couple movies, and played around on the Internet. Yesterday afternoon and evening, I cooperatively rented a car with a few other people, and we drove halfway up around the island. Hawaii is beautiful! That was one of my first times devoting a long time to exploring it and traipsing about the island. My friend has a digital camera with all the bells and whistles…and he was willing to have anyone take pictures with it, to their heart’s content. I took several, but had one that turned out to be an absolute perfect shot. It was house along the river, nestled in the midst of trees, with a beautiful and rich blue sky in the background. I am going to get a copy of all the pictures we took, copied to CD.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am going to go to a luau today with 300 of my closest friends (a.k.a. other people of the ship). I am going personally with a group of five or six people that I work with, and I’m really looking forward to the experience.
That’s all the news fit to print for today!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Both yesterday and today, I have been busy filing evaluation reports that we had piled up. There were at least two to three hundred that needed to be filed. I started yesterday, and was doing it largely by myself. Today, I had help from two co-workers, and we just about finished. There’s just one small pile to tackle tomorrow.
I finished reading another book yesterday. The book I finished was the one I described in my last entry. The books by the Kellermans, being the psychologically entrenched books that they are, really do an effective job of hooking me in. I can hardly put something like that down. When, so interested in a book, I have no problem spending an hour reading…even when it is late, late at night. I’m about to leave work now, and I plan to go in search of a new book to read in my collection. If I find Democracy in America, I am going to evaluate it, and determine if it could hold my interest.
The ship is about to pull into port again. I’m excited about it, too. I am going to do more touristy/native things then I did before, which I’m happy about it. I will be spending Thanksgiving in a way I never imagined I would ever before. Per operational safety I can go further into detail, but will after the fact.
I hope that everyone is well, and all the upcoming holidays are blessed for you, in time with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

NOVEMBER 15, 2004
The last couple days I have been reading "O, Pioneers!" by Willa Cather. I have been pleasantly surprised, both with this book and others that I have read, on people’s reaction. I seem to be in an environment where quality (classics) literature is not perused. Every time that I sit in the office reading some quality literature, I am asked, "Is that for a class?" It is just kind of surprising to get that reaction.

NOVEMBER 16, 2004
I finished reading "O, Pioneers," last night. Today, I started one of Jonathan Kellerman’s books that I had around.
I had a spot check today, which I spent a chunk of the day worrying about, and preparing for. It went swimmingly, however. The Chief that I did it with wanted to get it done with as soon as possible, so I just went over/through all the things he had to mark off on the sheet.
When we’re out here on deployment, I am probably going to get some qualifications done for various things, and do little extras I may not need to do. However, I decided in the last twenty-four hours that my main objective will be to take a list of good books to read, and collect all those. I would like to be able to say that I’ve read a lot of classics, which I can’t attest to right now. There’s a list that I found in the back of my book yesterday, with the top 25 or so classics put out by that specific publishing company.

Friday, November 12, 2004

I have been fully occupied the last few days with starting a new facet of my job, reading, and more. I finished (in large part) a book on real estate investing that I had been reading, and read “Nights In Rodanthe” by Nicholas Sparks. “Nights in Rodanthe” was a good romantic novel, and I could hardly put it down. I started it yesterday afternoon while doing laundry, stayed up late last night reading it, and finished it during the day today. After reading it, I look forward even more so to reading more Nicholas Sparks novels. I had only previously read The Notebook, before reading this one. In the last few days, I have also found out that he wrote “A Walk To Remember”, which is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed.
To expound more on my new position per se, I am now doing the command muster report in the morning. This is a multi-hour project in the morning, which involves taking in muster reports from every department on the ship and compiling the numerical data. There are many reasons why it takes so long. The person responsible for it has to compare all the departmental numbers to those of yesterday, note down all personnel coming and going, all personnel on unauthorized absence (commonly recognized as AWOL), and more. As well, if there are any discrepancies, the department point-of-contact must be called, and clear up the situation.
To those that are curious, the e-mail only version of this journal will continue. For those that solely wish to view it on the internet, please send me a message to let me know. I don’t recommend this highly, as posting will be sporadic due to shipboard internet conditions a large majority of the time. However, to each his own.
I hope that I can keep writing this frequently. However, at times (which you have seen so far), it may just be every 3rd or 4th day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It has been a few days since I put this out. The web log format that I mentioned in one my last entry has actually received a web-only entry! I wrote this while out in town in Honolulu, HI on Friday, I believe it was. You can visit my log on-line at It has not yet had all the “cracks” filled in…yet I believe all will still enjoy seeing it. Again, as time allows this week, I will fill the cracks in and have every past entry uploaded on there.
Ah…so to hear about the days in port. Hawaii was great! Among the things I did were going out walking around town, shopping for me, shopping in order to outfit another guy I work with, going out to eat (Red Lobster, Hard Rock Café, and a hotel restaurant), climbing a crater (Diamond Head), taking a nap and more. The hike up the crater wasn’t too high or too long, but it was work. Yet it was worth it, for the views of the ocean and the city. I purchased a great, new Hawaiian shirt that has a blue background and pink/white flowers all over it. I also bought a boys t-shirt, that has that little but not too little look to it on my figure. Then, I envisioned buying a necklace for myself, but had to decide what kind. In the end I picked out one that has white beads throughout, and a small group every so often of blue and white alternating. I’ve never been too much of the hemp or bead necklace wearing kind of guy, but I’d like to try it for a while.
The last two days in port, I didn’t too much. On Sunday, I stayed on the ship in the morning, and walked around on base for a couple hours in the afternoon. I went to a liberty center that they had, to use the internet and sit reading my book for awhile. Then, I stopped at a mini-mart to buy a couple things, pick-up Subway, and returned to the ship. On Monday, I had stand-by duty. This means that I stayed on the ship for the duration of the work day, helping out the normal duty section with anything they needed. I was busy all day! I had to lug a jug of water up and down the pier for the watch standers, and then later go down for a couple hours to clean up around the trash dumpsters and throw a lot of the trash in. After I was done for the day, I was hot, sweaty, and tired. I did not want to do anything more in Hawaii this time around. I spent the afternoon and evening hours relaxing, reading, and watching TV.
This morning, I manned the rails again, as we left Pearl Harbor. As we do Manning the Rails in and out of Pearl Harbor, whichever respective side of the ship is closest to the Arizona memorial, renders honors (salutes). This time it was port side, while I was on starboard. It was hot out, but then after we passed the memorial, and started getting out of the bay towards the ocean, the cool breeze started moving.
Other than that, the only other news of significance is that I have now been switched to day shift. While I don’t prefer this shift to the other, I will live and trudge on.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Today we pulled into port in Hawaii. The day has been nothing of what I expected. It started out with me working through the night, when I thought I would decide to cut out a little early and sleep a few hours. Then, just before happy hour, on my way to the berthing, I slipped and skidded down the ladderwell. I came out largely unscathed, however sore and bruised most likely. I hit my right backside on a number of steps, as well as running one shoulder blade or back bone into something. I also spilled water on a lot of the stuff I was carrying with me. Then, I thought I might take a nap after happy hour. I didn't have much of an opportunity to do this however, as I knew that we would have to be close by the office for briefs and taking out trash before liberty was called away.
Then the other thing is that the weather is not paradise weather at all! It has been drizzling rain all day! I will have to check the forecast tonight and see what it looks like for the rest of our time.
I have enjoyed my day after I got away from the ship. I have gone out around town today with my friend Jeremie, and another guy from my office. This other guy only has one outfit of civilian clothes onboard. He discussed wanting to go out and buy some shorts. So, I suggested he should go for more than that, enabling him to have more than one complete outfit. He was very much for it, so that has been a large part of the shopping we've done today. From head to toe, we have added to his wardrobe. It was a lot of fun, because Jeremie and I picked things out, and if we liked them, and fit for him, he bought matter the price! We got a nice hat, which I would have trouble describing, a green Hawaiian shirt with ukeleles and lei's, then khaki pants and a pair of green and black Converse All-Stars. After we finished with the wardrobe, we walked around in search of an internet cafe...from where I am now writing this.
That's it for now. I wouldn't doubt that I will update again during this in-port period.