Monday, November 17, 2008

it's Monday again (work at work?? that's crap)

I uploaded the pictures at the house, planning on loading text at work. Wouldn’t you know it, we actually had work. Well, not that much, I still surfed DA and did a crossword puzzle. Jack and I had a great morning and took these with mom. Perhaps I’ll see if I can get the video loaded at home. Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dink again

Alas, my blogging suffers for I have strayed into the world of Deviant Art. DA is a DIY site that I found in 2005 when looking for tattoo designs. Has some interesting stuff there, just keep your adult content filter on. This was today’s find. It is from the Latin “Tu fui, ego, eris” which translates into “What you are, I was What I am, you will be.”Latin saying, usually found on graves and I think its awesome

Friday, November 14, 2008

things you dont see every day

H requested that I wear my uniform for the St. Al’s program, so here I am. The pictures are just OK. Note that since I wore my uniform, I had to shave and get a hair cut, hence the look on Jacks face. The poor thing is still trying to figure out why I look different after the haircut. For all of you, who are retired, be jealous if you can’t get into your last active duty uniform. I took it off of the hanger and viola!!! Instant (retired) Navy Chief. I do have to admit that the reason for at least one strained look is that the collar is about half an inch too tight. I unbuttoned on the way home and could actually feel the blood flow returning to normal. Additionally, last night I broke a tooth off eating peanuts so the smile may be a little strained. Overall it was a great experience; I enjoyed being in uniform again, and am glad that I am authorized to wear it on special occasions. Fret not, you advocates of civilian life, there is no, I repeat NO way that I will be wearing this uniform professionally again (unless God drops the hammer on me, again). On the negative side, it reminded me of the good aspects of the old canoe club and I’m having a (b)witchty night at work. The top picture is H clowning around with my combination cap and doesn’t she look good in uniform. Perhaps we will have to keep an eye on that, not wanting her to run off and join the circus (Navy) and all.

Saint Aloysius School's Veteran's day Program

The program was wonderful, as usual, and the coffee and donuts were nice as well. I saw several of the other congregation members there, and was surprised at how many were Vets. I held off making a Veterans’ day blog entry until after this program, perhaps I was just being lazy. While I have always had a great overall respect for the men and women who have volunteered to serve and are still serving, I had considered my contribution small compared to a Viet Nam or Korean War Vet. It occurred to me today during the program that while keeping the “Evil Empires” at bay from the rest of the world was a quiet endeavor, it was no less important to the children of today than the efforts “in country” of other wars. And while it is not as visually dramatic as the efforts of our active duty military today, it is just as important. It is something that I am proud of, my small contribution and the difference that it made in the teams that I was a member of. Perhaps if we had done better in being aware of the “bigger picture” and sharing the real day-to-day import of our jobs to the nation, it wouldn’t have taken 3 years of retirement for me to realize it!

The pictures aren’t the greatest, but then I don’t have to worry about the legality of showing a bunch of minors on the web. Thanks to all you Vets, brothers and sisters in arms, may God bless you all and may God continue to bless America.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a little night music

hey, there was supposed to be some text here..........
during K's homework time last night B was playing piano while I loaded the dishwasher. It took twice as long as it should have because I was enjoying the intensity that the boys had while playing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the monday jack

It has been quite a week, both online and off. I had a crazy weekend of espresso blend coffee and blogged from work this weekend, the weather turned cold and we had snow, and Jack is as cute as ever. Here are some pic’s of him today being himself having some choclate chip cookie batter of mom's delicious design. enjoy!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halon on submarines??

The BBC reported the accident with updates today.

Halon is normally used around highly valuable computer, telecommunication, switching equipment and in the engine rooms of ships. Its advantages as a fire extinguishing agent was that it had lower toxicity other chemicals and that since it was a covalently bonded, it did not form conductive ions which made it usable on electrical equipment. Production has been banned in most countries since 1994 as part of the Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances. We use it here at the nuclear plant in computer, switchgear and relay rooms. The commercially available systems that we use consist of storage tanks, actuation control systems, alarms/lights (gives you the 30 second evacuation warning) and each subsystem has a manual override capability. The purpose of the override is so that if the discharge is inadvertent (unsanctioned as the Russians say) it can be stopped, however, it is a spring return mechanism designed such that once released, the 30 second timer starts again. When concentration reaches about five percent the atmosphere will not support human life and breathing apparatuses are required.
I have also found through my training as a fire/hazmat responder here that the face pieces of the EAB’s on the boat would most likely sealed fairly poorly in the event of an actual emergency (you’d stay alive but use a lot of air).
I can see using an agent like this in a building, if the warning goes off, run out the door. I can even understand using it on a surface ship, once more if the warning goes off, run out the door. I can not understand using a system like this on a submarine, even if it were “overengineered” like a lot of the things on boats. Additionally, having an automated system like this on a boat doesn’t pass the “good engineering practice” or common cense test.
My prayers are with the dead, crew, and families of the NERPA.

final thoughts - for now

For those submariners that are so vehemently opposed to women in submarines, I was initially shocked at your reactions. Do could you think so poorly of the character of the Officers, Chiefs and Enlisted outside of the Submarine force that you automatically are against their volunteering to serve. Is their Honor in question? their Courage? their Commitment? After some consideration I realized that this is not the case and that perhaps what Submariners really fear is that women in Submarines will bring and bring out all of the negativity in themselves, the negativity that they can and do cover with Submarine “bravado.” Perhaps having the diverse experience of working for women, with women and as their supervisor as well as having some distance from day-to-day Submarine operations has given me some larger perspective. In hindsight I thoroughly enjoyed my active service in our boy’s club. Perhaps we should not complain too much and draw too much attention to ourselves. Perhaps on this issue too, we should remain the Silent Service.

co-posted at TSSBP

Some good reasons to not allow women on submarines????

Berthing/heads/hot racking- hey all these issues have their negative side, and with planning the lack of space can be dealt with.

Feminine products-
I seem to remember a male sailor flushing a pair of underwear down the toilet (for whatever reason-stupid coner nub) and when they opened the SAN tank to recover them, he went in. It was a great objective lesson for the entire crew.
On surface ships female sailors are have the same storage area for all of their stuff as their male shipmates and still stock their “things” along with other hygiene items (just like the ELT’s on the boat). So, yes it would be tough for a long deployment or a detergent patrol but, the guys do it.

Strength/stamina-from experience I can tell you that there are some pretty weak male sailors in our submarine fleet and that I have seen two female sailors carry a hydro rig up five decks on surface ship ladders, so this is a wash.

Eve’s curse-I have allowed, on occasion women who worked with/for me to “take it easy” for the day during their menses; however, it was at about the same frequency that I allowed my male shipmates to “rest” after a night of “heavy steaming” or being up with a sick child/spouse/girlfriend/dog.

Fraternization-there are specific regulations on this subject and as several of my submarine brethren have noted, Submariners follow the rules. So, a female sailor who gets fraternizes and/or gets pregnant onboard/underway is definitely in violation and gets punished as applicable.

Pregnancy-There is an entire instruction dealing with this issue (OPNAVINST 6000.1C dtd 14 JUN 07). Service women “Are expected to plan a pregnancy in order to successfully balance the demands of family responsibilities and military obligations.” “Are expected to perform military duties within the limits established by their condition.” And “Have the same rights and responsibilities and are subject to the same administrative and disciplinary actions as all other naval personnel.” So what this tells me is that if a sailor gets pregnant to avoid a deployment, or on deployment or at any other time to avoid her duty, she is derelict and should be punished much in the same way as a sailor who fails to get enough rest or gets too much sun exposure and cannot perform their duty would be punished. This would also be implied for a lack of planning that results in a unplanned pregnancy.

And lastly, I hate to even address this issue but MM brought it up over at TSSBP: “equality for blacks and minorities, there is still huge disparities with them in the sub service.” While I doubt MM’s credentials to actually make this statement, in my experience there is a deviation between demographics in the country and in the Submarine Service. I attribute this to two things neither of which is as nefarious as MM implies. First is opportunity outside the Navy. If a person of color has the academic chops to get past the NFQT and volunteer, he has a better chance at getting a scholarship than his pale counterpart, so why sign up when college is a “better option.” Secondly, is opportunity inside the Navy. I have seen several nukes of color both in the pipeline and after get snatched up for some great programs to make them officers. Once there, I was told by one, he looked downstream and determined that he didn’t “want to go through the hell that Submarine JO’s go through” and he is in the supply corps now. I forsee the same happening with women.

I am not a proponent of women on submarines

I worked with and for women on both of the submarine tenders that I was assigned to under “nuclear circumstances,” without issue. My reasons are purely selfish and they are these:

I liked not having to worry about making gender specific comments (like “quit being a little sally!!” or “hey you guys” and the like).

I did not like not being able to talk about how much I liked or disliked certain physical attributes of some or all women.

I did not like having to continuously remind myself that there are fat, ugly, nasty male sailors too, and that I could not treat a female shipmate that was that way differently.

I did not like having to not get assigned to work with certain shipmates and to not look at those shipmates when they were working in a Drape CSCA (because man, did she look good in anti-c’s).

I did not like having to tell my electrician buddies that they couldn’t make a “dick out watch” as payment for a bet.

I did not like feeling like I needed to keep my teeth brushed and plenty of deodorant on when working.

So overall, it was inconvenient for us to all not act like a bunch of rude horny teenagers with bad mouths and poor hygiene. On both ships, if you acted unprofessionally, you got what you deserved.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

On Submarining as religion

My impetus for writing was a post on concerning women on Submarines. I was initially going to post my opinion on this issue but have come up with something larger for your contemplation.

All organized religions have some of the same tenets with the largest being this: a calling to do things that are contrary to basic human nature. So as far as I can see, the Submarine Service is actually a religion. Now all you “navy-haters,” short timers and SNOB’s hear me out and refute my logic. The Submarine service is all volunteer, some of us are raised into it by our families, but still must sign up (several times). You can leave if you want, and I mean really, really, really want and are prepared to accept the consequences. You sequester yourselves for extended periods, following an arduous routine of hard work and self denial. You put your body into a metal tank full of high explosives, nuclear warheads, high energy piping, high voltage equipment, toxic chemicals and nuclear radiation, submerge it and take it around the world. You leave your loved ones at home while you prostrate yourself in whatever position you have to get into to fix/clean/preserve that pump/valve/motor. You flagellate yourselves with traditions that cause sleep deprivation and neurosis (ORSE/TRE/NTPI preps) both at sea and import. You follow arcane rules that no one really remembers the root of and that often lack common sense, because the “great prophet” decreed them (see the EDOM) only to find out that when these rules are disregarded that disaster results. And finally, only a select few in the world have any appreciation for the work you do and the trials you endure. The rest look at you as a group and say “I sure wouldn’t do that, its crazy.” So, you might not like it but, it looks like a religion to me.

The end result of this nuclear powered crucible is one of two things, the first and unfortunate is that the “slag” floats to the top and is skimmed off and discarded. (Please note here that I am indicating how you react to the heat, not how long you are in) The second is that the resulting “alloy” of men (and perhaps women) and machine is a shining example for the world to see. It is a source of pride for each Submariner for his entire life, if he served one tour or an entire career.

This withstanding, my opinion on women on Submarines is this: when the Wardroom and Goatlocker decide that it will happen, it will. Without incident they will do it and they will excel because that is how it is done on Submarines. Yes, there will be wining, and complaining and difficulty and some will not be able to deal with it and fail, much like what happens in the surface fleet today. But with all that I indicated above, the crew will follow orders whenever they come down.

As for the political side, I don’t think that my wife would have been very happy about it, but she didn’t freak out when I went to sea on either tender that I was assigned to. On the first I worked with and for women and had women work for me on the second. And we can all find legal and social excuses for it to not work. And I think that the upcoming administration will have so many other bigger, more terrifying fish to fry that they won’t even get to this issue.

Friday, November 7, 2008

derelict blogger!?!?

So, the derelict blogger returns with a quick update before the next Monday Jack. I got off my but and checked all of my email accounts and five of you actually sent me mail to check on me, thanks.

I came off of midnight shift and ended up with a crappy cold for Halloween and my birthday. I worked on my birthday to take the second off to go to the Diocesan Youth Conference with the K’’s combined youth group.

We all had a good time at the conference, had some adventures too!! The kids investigated some potential vocations, and while we were helping with the lunch crowd, Jack got locked in a classroom for fifteen minutes (he was asleep and I didn’t freak out) the pic of the door is the one that was inadvertently locked when a teen slammed the door.

I took Tuesday off to get some long delayed chores done and was lucky enough to have time to rack my other batch of crabapple and Sara’s Pear. Then proceeded to take a “long winters nap” on the living room floor. See the video and don’t laugh too hard.

The rest of the week has been in training for me and school for the rest. General silliness with H and Jack, funny food faces and both of them in Jacks bed.

The main seal failed on the AVEO last night on the way home and we are now shopping for a new engine and a good mechanic. Looks like I will have to raid the 401K for money to fix it.

I am also negotiating a new (company) Job here on site so keep me in your prayers.

Also, speaking of prayers, keep Joel over at TSSP in your prayers he was diagnosed with cancer this last week.

I will endeavor to get a sea story posted this weekend as I am working and usually have time to do the USATODAY crossword.

OK, so the video won't load from work.....posting later.....CIAO