THE SAILOR'S LOG II

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

Name:
Location: Everett, Washington

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Home is where one starts from

It is now late evening on Saturday. I was just sitting in the berthing watching a movie, and the (oh-so-happy) thought came to me that exactly one week from today, I will be doing the same thing at home! :)
I was walking around the ship today, and had the great yearning to be in wide, open, natural space and stretch. I want to move, and be off the ship. It caused me to make a mental note/commitment to spend a lot of time outside after we get back. Whether it will be walking often, going to parks frequently, or camping a few times…it doesn’t matter. I want to do all those things.
This last week I have sent a couple boxes of my stuff home in the mail. I wanted to do this in order to clear out some of my belongings (an ever present need), and ensure that some of the things I want at home with me can be there before I am. I sent enough clothes that I will just have to carry a bare amount with me, and have more room for bigger physical objects. I have acquired a few toys while I’ve been deployed (I have become an even bigger fan of Internet shopping, as a side note), as well as new books and movies, and will be bringing them home to show off and share.
I am headed off to bed now, soon to awaken to the last Sunday of this deployment!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Crazy, Busy Days

Today we pulled out of Hawaii, after one day and one night in port. However, I did not get off the ship at all, except to take out trash. I took someone else’s duty, as I described a few days ago. It was BUSY day. I went from muster report to working party to watch, to sleep. Then, this morning started off really busy to. It took me 4+ hours to do the muster report this morning, while getting muster reports with a lot of changes, initial copies, then corrected copies. Ugh! While we were in port, we took Tigers onboard for a Tiger Cruise to San Diego. I have also described this before, I believe. There are around 280 Tigers onboard, and they must all be mustered.
Every day is one big step closer to getting home…we are closer than yesterday, with a small number of days left. I am trying not to write about this subject, every time I write, but that’s hard to do!
Not too much to report on the literary front. I finished The Kite Runner the other day, and started a new book. The new book I’m reading is the story of investment guru, Jim Rogers, in his travels on a motorcycle across several continents, over a few years. It is very interesting and informational to read about the social, political, and economic situation in various countries. That is all in spite of the book being over 10 years old. If the situation has changed dramatically in these countries, and I looked into all this more, I will know how a certain country became the way it is.
This entry has been posted/published/sent on the 25th, because the ship’s servers (e-mail off-ship/internet) were down at the end of the night on the 24th.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Written the first Sunday of the two, posted the next morning (second Sunday)

Today is our first Sunday out of the two. At midnight, we will begin the 20th all over again. Now, I must tell you, contrary to what I wrote the other day, the powers that be decided we would not have two relaxed days. So, we had to work throughout the day today, and will have a relaxing day tomorrow. This is the Navy way -- we can’t have too much fun or be too relaxed, now!
I started reading The Kite Runner, and I’m enjoying it. The chapters are short, so I’ve found if I’ve got approximately ten minutes during a chow break during the day, I have enough time to read a chapter. That’s a nice change from My Life, where they chapters are something like 20+ pages.
The events celebrating the 60th anniversary of WW II, which I mentioned a few days ago have now begun. Without even thinking about it, as I was looking through the news, I found an article with stories and memories of Iwo Jima. I have it pasted in below if you’d like to read through it.
It’s hard to accurately say that I have less two weeks until I get to my house, because of the date line crossing. However, that is basically true…because I’ll be home 2 weeks from yesterday. But counting calendar days, it’s still 14 days from now. However, tomorrow will be 13 days. I wish I could stop counting for at least a few days, but there’s always some point/event during the day when I think about it!

Stories of and memories of Iwo Jima:
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/feb05/303276.asp

Friday, February 18, 2005

I have about 50 pages left to read in My Life. I have really enjoyed reading this book, even though it’s taken me a month plus to finish it. I decided to go ahead and read The Kite Runner next. It looks like a really interesting book, and the other book that was in the running is quite short. So, I’ll save that for reading during my time at home.
Here below is an editorial summary of The Kite Runner (compliments of Amazon.com):

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend pleasant days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever, and eventually cements their bond in ways neither boy could have ever predicted. Even after Amir and his father flee to America, Amir remains haunted by his cowardly actions and disloyalty.

Other than the reading, I don’t have too much else to detail. We will soon be in-port Hawaii for one day. I will be taking someone’s duty day, and staying on the ship. That’s a good thing, and pretty much what I wanted to do, anyway. I need to go through and effectively pack my stuff together how I want it. As far as I know, I have a lot I want to take home with me for different things that’ll happen at home. I have wedding gifts, my suit, and other things that I bought in Hong Kong, that I want/need at home with me. As well, I will go through my books/movies, and decide the best ones I have yet to peruse, and the ones I want to bring home to share with others. In other news, we will soon be close to the regular U.S. clock, as we cross the date line this weekend. We will have Sunday twice this weekend. Since it is our most relaxed day on the ship, it should be a really great weekend! That is all for now.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I watched Good Morning Vietnam last night in my rack, courtesy of a couple different friends loaning both the movie and a portable DVD player for my use. I then read for a little closer to the end in My Life, and tried to fall asleep. I couldn’t sleep however, due to thoughts running through my head. It was one of those nights, in which I had thoughts of anything and everything with no feasible way of stopping them or drifting to sleep for a long while. I managed a few hours of sleep, and took a nap during lunch.
I just took a sample of the news that’s posted on the ship’s network, due to the Internet not being up at the moment. I found a really good article from the Washington Times I wanted to share some thoughts from. Through the article, I was reminded that this year is the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Department of Defense is planning half a dozen events across the country in the next six months, beginning this week, to commemorate the people involved as well as the ideals of the war. It seems especially moving to me, because these veterans won’t be around much longer.
I should finish reading My Life in the next day or so, as I have approximately hundred pages left in it. I will have to take a day or two afterwards, to pick out my next read. In the couple months, I have received some great, interesting sounding books, which may make it difficult to pick out the next one. One of those in consideration is The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. I did want to tell you about it today, but I’ll write the summary/plot of that out tomorrow.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

COMPLETE SINGAPORE WRAP-UP

FEBRUARY 5, 2005

Today was the first day in Singapore. We pulled in around 11:30 in the morning, and I was on the flight deck "manning the rails". I got dressed in my summer white uniform, mustered at 9:30, and we were in our place around the edge of the flight deck at 9:45. We were there until we were moored, which at 11:30. It was hot out, yet still a nice day.
It took a couple hours for liberty called, and for the folks that I was with to be set to go. I went out with three buddies of mine that work in other departments on the ship. We started on our way, before we knew really what we wanted to do. The general consensus was to go out for dinner and then some beers, with no specific place in mind. We headed out on the bus that took us to the MRT station. Due to the number of people from the Navy following the same route, there were lines out the door for the closest ATM. I started to wait, but we decided to skip that, and skip the MRT due to it. We took a cab, which would take US dollar, and headed to Hooters. I ate a great ham ‘n’ cheese sandwich w/bacon, alongside grabbing some wings of the plates of the others. We had the local specialty, Tiger Beer, along with our meal. As soon as we sat down, I got up and headed outside to try to find an ATM and get Singapore money, even though they would also take US dollar at Hooters. It proved to be fruitless, with people I asked sending me on a half a goose chase. I asked a couple guys working in the area, and they sent me to a nearby hotel. Upon asking people inside the hotel, I was sent from one side to the other, with no ATM present. Then, they told me somewhere close to the other side of the river, that I had come from. So, I gave up and decided I would get Singapore money later on in the night. After that, we just walked around Clark Quay (the area we were in). There was a bungee activity that the other guys went for. I however chose not to, and was the designated photographer for said activity. The bungee cords were attached to a 3-person capsule, which upon release sent the folks up 60 meters in less than 2 seconds, held them there, then went up and down a couple times.

FEBRUARY 6, 2005

I write today from Singapore, where the sun is warm, the breeze is cool, and the water is gorgeous.
Today is my duty day, and I had watch this morning from 7:30-11:30. I was posted at the main gate of the Singapore naval station, where we are moored. One of my main tasks was to escort vendors/suppliers of various items, onto the base and to the ship. Some of these folks drove trucks, and some just were walking onto the base. One of them that I walked with was a moneychanger. With him, I had one of the best, most interesting conversations that I’ve had in a long time. We talked about how long I’ve been in the Navy, whether or not I like it, where the ship has been before, and the war in Iraq. We had somewhat differing viewpoints on the war in Iraq, but both of us were right in our thinking. My comment on the war was that I didn’t think we should have gone in there unilaterally, and he thought it was okay. He thought that the multi-national (UN) approach hadn’t worked, and hadn’t been working in that specific situation for a long time. He believes that it was right for the U.S. to invade to keep Saddam from oppressing the people (a point I brought up, and he agreed with), it kept (or stopped?) Iraq from being a country open to or breeding terrorists, and it left Saddam without the possibility of wreaking any havoc on the world. While engaged in, and after the fact of, I am left with one of those thoughts of "Who would have thought that I would in Singapore, walking and talking about global events with a local?"

FEBRUARY 7, 2005

Today is my birthday! I’m 22 now! I had a good birthday, even though it didn't turn out like I thought it would. I started out my day early (about 7 am) in order to do a community service project for the Singapore Children's Society. We all met up as a group at 7, picked up our box lunches, and several boxes of clothes for the kids...and waited till 8 to get on the bus to go to the site. We got there, and did general yard work and picking up trash, etc on the grounds. We raked leaves, picked up logs, and more, to make the backyard a better place for the kids to play. It was fun, though we didn't have as much time with the kids as was originally planned. We worked there basically from 9-12...and then I went out and about with a buddy.
The rest of the day was spent shopping, riding the bus and the train around town, and more shopping before my birthday events at night. I bought a couple things from a Columbia store that we found in one of the malls. I got a cool polyester blue/gray shirt there, as well as new sandals. My buddy bought the shirt for me, and the sandals were my birthday present to myself. My birthday events were dinner at 5:30 at a ribs/steaks/burgers restaurant, and then drinks at another spot at 7:30. I invited about twenty people, and no one showed up! They were all too busy doing other things in port. I did have fun though, doing those things with my buddy, and then other people we ran into from the ship. I got to the drinks spot an hour and a half late...and found out later that a couple people had come on time, and missed me. The drinks spot was cool. They had 100s of drinks on their menu, and all alphabetized. One guy we were with and I both stole the drink menu to have as a souvenir!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Addendum to yesterday

After writing my entry up yesterday, I realized there were other items of interest that I forgot to include. I’ll include other things that happened today as well.
Yesterday afternoon, I got the results and my qualification sheet back for becoming an RPPO (repair parts petty officer). I did indeed pass the test, and my qualification sheet is now en route up the chain of command for everyone that needs to sign off on that. I still will spend some time sitting down with the person I’ll take over from, to completely know what I’ll be doing. All that will have to do with the ordering process, picking up the supplies, and balancing the department’s checkbook.
Also, yesterday was the last day that we sent volunteers to the beach. We sent a group of 45 people to the beach today, to turn over with the USS Essex, who will continue the work. Throughout the month of January, we transported 2.2 million pounds of food and supplies, with more than a thousand volunteers going ashore. The U.S. military in total has delivered 5.1 million pounds of food and supplies, and had an approximate total of twenty-two hundred volunteers.
I sent up my leave chit today for signature, and it looks like I won’t have any problems taking leave then. So far, there are only one or two other people requesting it for that time. I got my leave chit in as soon as I could, so I was a step ahead of the game.