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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Monday, February 28, 2005

more about submarine hijinks

i've posted a couple of seastories, linked here and here over the last week or so. and promised to talk about practical jokes, so here are a couple. i'll just keep typing until it's beddy bye time. hopefully i'll get most of them down, and if i don't, i guess we'll have to gather around the bug juice machine in crews mess at another time for the rest.

these two are not submarine specific, since i KNOW for a fact they happen on skimmers too, but since these were seawolf happenstances, i'll just say that the skimmers might do these, but we did them better. so there.

1: every submarine has at least one spudrock. not his real name, but one we used to give him a hard time with. he was an eager lad, but not really up to speed with the technical stuff, if you know what i mean. i've heard he finally got it gathered into one sock, and ended up in charge of his very own electrical division on a submarine. good for him. i'm sure the crap and grief he took on the seawolf more than prepared him for life in the new boat fleet. even our crappiest electrician was heavily schooled in troubleshooting and repairs. had to be, otherwise we ran a better than even chance of just sinking to the bottom from old age. those guys all became top flight technicians simply as a matter of survival.
but this story is of a time before spud became a paragon of submarining. as a matter of fact, he was the butt of more jokes and harassment because his grasp of what most of us thought was obvious somehow eluded him. we all knew that spud was eager to please, and watched him stand his aux electrician aft watches with some amusement. he tried so hard to be squared away that he often missed the most obvious things. like when we were in waters so cold that the moisture vapor in the air condensed out and froze on the deck in the stern room. he hit that ice at a full tilt not once, but several times before he figured out the deck had the submarine version of black ice, and that he should maybe take it a little easy coming off the steps from after berthing into the stern room. like i said, eager, but not quite operating in the power band.
spud was blonde. this is not a blonde joke, simply a description. he had a very full beard, which he trimmed into a zapata goatee. you know, a little square of dense fur under the lower lip, and a moustache. bristle more than hair. stuck straight off his face.
i got bored standing engineroom supervisor, so i wandered down to after aux to talk to the a-ganger down there running the scrubbers and hydraulics plants. i noticed that there was a tube of prussian blue sitting out on the workbench. hmmmm, blonde facial hair, prussian blue marking dye. the oldest machinist mate practical joke in the entire navy called to me. so up i went to the stern room, back by the steering and diving rams. there was a sound powered handset back there, so i coated the mouth and ear pieces with a thin layer of prussian blue.
for those of you not initiated into the mystical realm of sailors and their practical jokes, imagine the old time movies where someone picked up a telescope or eyepiece, and when they pulled it down from their face, they had a big black ring around their eye. same idea, only this stuff was an amazingly deep and adherent blue color.
"hey spud, i need you to go aft and check on the hydraulics lineup for the steering rams. let me know if it's normal" off goes spud. when i figured he was close enough to hear the buzzer, i called him on the phone. but didn't talk to him.
back comes spud, with the most amazing green moustache and beard, and the bluest ear you've ever seen.
what i still find cool is that he stood the next three hours without anyone saying a thing to him. that includes entering maneuvering to report conditions aft, and waking up the oncoming watchsection for watch relief.
stupid, but a great humor break on an otherwise interminable and boring watch underway.

2: seawolf had voice tubes between engineroom upper level forward and the feed station, and engineroom upper level aft and the lower level engineroom by the 8000 gallon per day evaporator. these were used to communicate between upper level and the lower level watchstations without having to use the sound powered phones. upper level forward had the diesel gageboard and air start station, and feed station had the cylinder petcocks, and manual priming pumps. so we used the voice tube all the time. i liked using it because i could be a bit less than formal in my communications. as in "hey butthead, line up the &(&^%_*&** system". stuff like that. one buzz was the signal for the sound powered phones, and two for the voice tube. it was absolutely a requirement to buzz feed station, and drop a bolt down the voice tube, just to see if he was paying attention. the other trick was to buzz feed station, and dump a cup of coffee down it, in the hopes of wetting down the watch.
the voice tube wars took several turns that were not only hilarious, but completely unexpected. like when the feed station watch connected a high pressure hose to the discharge vent on the operating feed pump, hooked up a ball valve to the end of the hose, climbed up on top of the feed panel below the diesel gageboard, and let us have it with a 400 psi water laser. or my very favorite: brownie was getting tired of being blooshed with coffee and nuts and bolts out of the voice tube. so he grabbed a bag of mini marshmallows from the bench locker in the crews mess on his way aft to take the watch. once there, he filled the tube with those itty bitty white puffs, stuffed a rag in the end, and jammed a 100 pound air hose into the tube. buzz buzz, feed station signaled the upper level to the voice tube. he watched as the watchstander (i've forgotten who it was, but i was the engineroom supervisor at the time, sitting on the workbench by the gageboard) approached the voice tube. when he saw the watchstander was trying to talk to him, he cut in the air pressure. the forward engineroom looked like vermont in february, during a heavy blizzard. the whole forward end of ERUL filled with minimarshmallows. and nuts, bolts, and anything else solid that had been dropped down the tube, but failed to exit. we were finding those damned marshmallows 2 years later during the overhaul as they ripped out equipment for repair. good fun.

monkey sees, monkey does

so, i was over at allan's, and saw the latest doodad bouncing around the web. he traces it's lineage, so i'll just refer to him, and if you want to see who was responsible, you can backtrack from there.
so anyway, here goes

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

if you can't figure it out, i've been in every state, and lived in a bunch. hey, besides having been in the navy, i was also a military brat.
so in addition to all the states, i've lived in france, and i've visited:a shitload of countries, which i just edited out, and within the territorial waters of several countries who's location is still classified.
i've still got some to go too. i want to see the great wall in china, and i'd like to stand in the middle of red square in moscow before i croak.

another submarine blogger

howdy to the triple nickle sailor over at AGSS-555. found him myself. BUT... there's another at Photios that i wouldn't have found except that our ever vigilant Joel at the Stupid will be Punished found him and has already introduced him to the submariner blogosphere. way to go joel! and greeting to our newest members of a growing ahemmm sub-community withing the blogosphere. hiya chief!

the dominoes continue to fall

damn, i sure am glad we didn't go to the middle east, because things were ok there except that whole palestinian/israeli thing. what, you mean we DID go there? what the hell happened? oh, so libya gave up it's terrorist sponsorship, and it's weapons development program? and afghanistan is now run by an elected government? and hussein and his murderous reign of terror was brought down? and the palestinians elected (in a real election) a government? and what? what's happening in lebanon? damn, guess it i was a little out of the loop. i thought that our interfering with the middle east would cause the world to catch fire. it seems the only thing to catch fire was the desire in people's hearts to be free. who'd a thought, except the president of course. you know that guy, the cowboy? guess there will be a lot of naysayers out buying stetsons, eh?

more email humor (?)

here's the latest opus via the web.

New Medications for Women Only

DAMNITOL Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 hours.

ST. MOMMA'S WORT Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to six hours.

EMPTYNESTROGEN Highly effective suppository that eliminates melancholy by enhancing the memory of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.

PEPTOBIMBO Liquid silicone for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and improves flirting.

DUMBEROL When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low IQ, resulting in enjoyment of country western music.

FLIPITOR Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

PENISCILLIN Potent antiboyotic for older women. Increases resistance to such lines as,"You make me want to be a better person ... can we get naked now?"

BUYAGRA Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency and duration of spending spree.

Extra Strength BUY-ONE-AL When combined with Buyagra, can cause an indiscriminate buying frenzy so severe the victim may even come home with a Donnie Osmond CD or a book by Dr. Laura.

JACKASSPIRIN Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary or phone number.

ANTI-TALKSIDENT A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers.

SEXCEDRIN More effective than Excedrin in creating the, "Not now, dear, I have a headache" syndrome.

NAGAMENT When administered to a husband, provides the same irritation as nagging him all weekend, saving the wife the time and trouble of doing it herself.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

welcome to a new submariner/blogger

a new submarine blogger! welcome, bubblehead. and to those who might be a bit confused, most submariners call themselves "bubblehead". when i was in, that was a fighting word that skimmer pukes used to use to get a rise out of us. but in true submarine fashion, we took that derogatory term, and made it our own.

Friday, February 25, 2005

a couple from the web. sorry

Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

translation: When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults.

groaner of the day:
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of callouses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. this made him ... what?

oh, do i have to? well, ok
A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis

found at Whatmeds.com

Thursday, February 24, 2005

a couple of storm pix

we had one hell of a storm blow thru northern kahleefornia this weekend, spawning two tornados in sacramento, even. here are a couple of shots from my house in vacaville . first, it was absolutely beautiful out, sunny, no breeze, balmy even. 5 minutes later the sky turned black, the wind started howling, and the sheet lightning in the sky made the clouds look like a backdrop at an evening awards ceremony photo op. the rumble of thunder was constant for at least half an hour. then it started to rain...my rain gauge showed 3 1/2 inches in under 30 minutes. then, the hail started, and we ended up with about an inch of hail on the ground.

this is just as the hail started to fall. yes, that is about 8 inches of runoff in the gutter in front of the house

you can see the hail streaking across the field of view in this picture.

the sky after the hail stopped. those clouds were just barely above rooftop level. note the hail on my neighbor's roof

pretty amazing, having two tornados in northern kahleefornia, only 30 miles away. luckily for the folks where they hit, they were only F-0 force winds, but it's still a shock to have them at any level. i suppose those folks living in tornado alley would laugh at these pix, but for us it was pretty damned cool.

food geek stuff

every cook needs a really good skillet. preferably a well seasoned cast iron skillet. here's mine. it's about 15 years old, and has only been washed with soap twice. first time: when new prior to seasoning after purchase. second time: after my daughter was grossed out by the "icky black stuff" on it, prior to it's second seasoning.

why did i post this? i saw it on the stove, and i had my camera. sounds like a good enough reason for me.

the latest from bill...idiots

so i have this bud bill, and he sends me every joke on the web. this is something i appreciate, and occasionally share here on the blog. here is the latest installment. do you know any of these people? this should be a interesting thread

Idiots in Service
This week, our phones went dead and I had to contact the telephone repair people. They promised to be out between 8:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. When I asked if they could give me a smaller time window, the pleasant gentleman asked, "Would you like us to call you before we come?" I replied that I didn't see how he would be able to do that since our phones weren't working. He also requested that we report future outages by email. Does your email work without a telephone line?

Idiots at Work
I was signing the receipt for my credit card purchase when the clerk noticed I had never signed my name on the back of the credit card. She informed me that she could not complete the transaction unless the card was signed. When I asked why, she explained that it was necessary to compare the signature I had just signed on the receipt. So I signed the credit card in front of her. She carefully compared the signature to the one I had just signed on the receipt. As luck would have it, they matched.

Idiots in the Neighborhood
I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: too many deer were being hit by cars and she didn't want them to cross there anymore. I could swear I've recently been with some of these people...

Idiots in Food Service
My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce". He said he was sorry but they only had iceberg.

Idiot Sighting #1
I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" To which I replied, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" She smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."

Idiot Sighting #2
The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with a coworker of mine when she asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?"

Idiot Sighting #3
At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker who is leaving the company due to "downsizing" our manager commented cheerfully, "This is fun. We should do this more often." Not a word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

Idiot Sighting #4
I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the life of her couldn't understand why her system would not turn on.

Idiot Sighting #5
When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As I watched from the passenger's side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," I announced to the technician, "it's open!" To which he replied, "I know, I already got that side."

Now don't you feel better about yourself?

a short diversion to politics

i've been reading my linked submariner blogs with a lot of respect. i'm always surprised at how well these guys are able to express themselves. a well thought out and written post regarding the possible republican schism can be found at subman dave's. if you have the time, i recommend scrolling through his past posts. Insightful and thought provoking.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

an insightful and well written post about oil, govt, and the press

one of the State Department Republican Underground wrote a killer post over the weekend. he reports on the "oil for food" scandal, canada's failure to support the invasion of iraq, and the very real, very noticable trends in the mainstream media (MSM). the post can be found at NewSisyphus.
this blog is a manditory daily read, along with the daily demarche, another republican underground blogger. both sites have presented clearly written, thoughtfully presented views on the world around us. bothenook sez, check'm out.

submariner blogs

as some of you know, i've been trying to compile a list of submariner bloggers, kind of a one stop shopping spot to find other boat sailors with blogs. well, today i found two more, and have added them to the blog list. they are The NM Bubblehead, and Hap's Ponderings. cool

for any other bubblehead that wanders by and sees this post, if you have a blog, and i haven't listed you, please e-mail me, and i will get right to it.

welcome to the list guys.

Monday, February 21, 2005

submariner book review

i just finished reading R. Cameron Cooke's Pride Runs Deep. Excellent submarine book. i finished it in a day, so you can tell it was kind of hard to put down. it centers around a "hard luck" WWII submarine, and the shining star the commodore sends to square the boat away. it had a lot in common with Das Boot, the german war epic that ranks as one of the greatest submarine fiction i've read. Cooke is obviously a submariner. he has the language, the cadence, the subject matter, and the overall feel down pat. although the hero's journey is a pretty well trodden path, he winds his way down it with some solid submarine story telling. i could almost tell you word for word how the last two chapters were going to read before i finished the first third of the book, but then, being a voracious reader, and a submariner myself (quite often these two traits go hand in hand), perhaps i had an edge over the general public when it came to seeing what the story line was going to be. having said that, i still really enjoyed the book. i wish it was longer.
and here's a quote from the book for WillyShakes. he asked if other boat sailors knew of bad luck boats, with some commentary about recent events within the submarine community.

"I'll come to the point, Jack. You and I both know that this 'bad luck' line is bullshit. To claim "bad luck" is to simply shirk responsibility. It is simply a way to hide problems-serious problems lurking in the unit. The ultimate responsibility in any command resides with the commander I don't have to tell you that."

my take on bad luck boats is that bad luck can happen to any one at any time. case in point...SSN-711's recent collision with an uncharted undersea mountain. when these problems, or bad luck happens again, then it isn't the cosmic joker dicking with you, it's indicative of problems within the command. let me put this another way. if you get into an auto accident, and it wasn't your fault, well...bummer, shit happens. but if you get into several accidents, and none of them are your fault, then i think the definition of "fault" has to be examined. why? because the odds of those incidents occurring are against you. why did it happen? maybe you weren't paying enough attention, and even though you are "innocent" of fault, the fault really lies with your ability to drive and avoid those other idiots on the road. hey, the insurance industry and the dept. of motor vehicles have figured it out. in calfornia, a no-fault accident still gets you points on your record. 3 no fault accidents can still get your license revoked. why? because obviously you are doing something wrong, even though you are officially considered innocent of fault. works for me.

and to continue my new tradition of "how do you relax after...." here's how i relax after a memorable movie and a great dinner out on the town
a brisk evening on the back patio, a good submariner novel, an adult beverage made with Crown Royal and ice, and a romeo y julliet Cedros #2 cigar. note the cigars. i got a beautiful travel humidor full of a romeo y julliet sampler with a dozen of their top of the line stogies. life is good. life is damned good.

holy smokes gonzo

michell malkin has a post reporting Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide. guess he decided that he'd lived as he saw fit, and was going to die as he saw fit. the eulogies and praise will be wall to wall come tomorrow, but i just can't get my head wrapped around the fact that he committed suicide. i only have one reason i can see that's appropriate, and that's if you have a terminal disease that will either steal your mind, or rack your body with anguish. so i guess i'll reserve my judgement until hearing more about the circumstances. 67 is too damned young, dammit

what a great day. movie and restaurant review

first of all, i believe i've seen the best damned movie of the year tonight at the shattuck theater in berkeley. one of my all time favorite movies is Amelie. tonight's movie was directed by the same guy, with audrey tautou, one of my very favorite actress born in 1978 (that's a little side info for ed, glad i didn't bet him anything). if you liked Amelie, or you enjoy extremely well crafted movies in general, even if you have to drive a hundred miles... go see A Very Long Engagement. if this movie doesn't win multiple awards in the international movie arena, there is no justice in the world. this movie has three seperate movies intertwined (stole that from the sf chronicle reviewer), a love story, a war picture, and an intricate film-noir who-dunnit. i will see this movie again. i will buy this movie when it is available. you HAVE GOT to see this flick. i don't want to keep flogging this picture, but the cinematography and direction were superb. there is a scene well into the movie where one of the charaters enters a tunnel. the way the scene was shot, with the shift of perspective, and the interplay of light and shadow was quite simply magnificent. the battle scenes were shot as well as any big budget offering. the scenes of the trench warfare were haunting. don't take my word for it. go see it for yourself. really, go. now. go.
for a more articulate and better written review, check out dwardo's review.

after the movie, we banged around berkeley for a bit, figuring out what we were going to have for dinner. my amigo dwardo suggested a caribean place he'd heard about. so off we went to Tropix somewhere on the border of berkeley and oakland on piedmont. when you first get there, the initial impression is hole in the wall. but once you get in, the place opens up into a nice and cosy spot. the food was great. the restaurant has a good vibe to it. we shot the breeze with the chef across the divider while we were waiting to be seated. the staff were all friendly, and accommodating, since there were some dietary issues regarding spices. i know... go to a caribe joint, and expect the food to be bland. NOT. but they were able to fix some killer salmon for my wife without all the jerk rub. she did some serious damage to her plate of food, so she must have liked it. i had jerk rubbed ribeye steak, and dayam, was it good. so if you are in the bay area, and want to try something a little different, check them out.

Friday, February 18, 2005

a poke in the eye for bubblehead

headline: Jimmy Carter Attack Sub Armed with Nerf Missiles

from Scrappleface. the USS JIMA, first of the Seahare class.

i'm laughing.

carnival of recipes is up

over at Allan's, or as those of us that know him, Dr. Science (nick compliments of ali, the momma duck.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

submariner graffiti

bubblehead posted a great entry about Submarine Warfare since WWII.


i remember in the late 70's that the USS George Washington SSBN-598 surfaced under a japanese freighter in the western pacific, and sank that maru.

the following spread throughout the entire submarine community, usually found penned on the walls of the local crapper on the pier.


TO: Commanding Officer, SSBN-598

1: WWII has been over since 1945.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

more no shi.. uh, i mean, sea stories

more about Lt.G.: he smoked a turk's head mershaum pipe while on watch. the qmow of the previous post stole the pipe at the beginning of one watch, and returned it with a perfectly made pair of wire rim red lens glasses perched on the turk's nose. what a visual. Lt.G with his rig for red goggles on, smoking a pipe wearing it's own pair of rig for red goggles.
imagine this guy wearing rig for red goggles. i still crack up

thanks to harry the hop for reminding me about the following:
Lt.G. used to put that pipe in his mouth while we had to do that 12 hour surface transit to do shallow ops. He'd sit in the chair and think he was in an Old Spice commericial.

hop also reminded me of another story that really and truly happened. he can confirm this.
first: some background.
on the pre-688 class boats, when you went to the bathroom, it wasn't a porcelain commode with a flush valve and tank of water. it was actually quite complicated, and easy to mess up. first, you did your business. then, you checked around the ball valve for bubbles. the ball valve sat at the bottom of the stainless steel throne, and was designed to hold against sea pressure. it isolated the toilet from the sanitary tank, which was emptied with pressurized air to sea while underway. so it was important to look for bubbles, because that meant the sanitary tank was at a minimum not vented, and at worst, pressurized 50 pounds above sea pressure to blow the tank. so here's the sequence of events to actually flush:
  • check for bubbles
  • crack open the flushing water valve
  • SLOWLYcrack open the ball valve and see what's happening. it's important to note that the unwary lean over the toilet to do this, not bend around the john in case there's actually pressure in the line. you only need to do this once to learn a life long lesson
  • fully open the ball valve and increase flush water flow to clear the bowl.
  • close the ball valve
  • secure the flushing water, leaving a couple of inches of water above the ballvalve to act as a seal. kind of helps keep the stink out of the people tank
  • exit the head, which is only wide enough for the bowl, usually no more than about 24 to 30 inches across

so on with the story. on the seawolf, the torpedo room was also crew's forward berthing. on this particular run, my bunk was in the upper level starboard passageway, right at the hatch leaving the torpedo room. that level also had the two showers and i think 3 heads, but i might be wrong and there were only two. been a while. so the inboard head was up a couple of steps, located above the ladderway down to lower level. so the water closet was actually mounted along the pressure hull. what that meant is that when you went into use the bathroom, you had to lean forward a bit because of the curvature of the hull. a young unsuspecting shipmate went into the head and did his business. while in there, the torpedoman of the watch lined up to blow down the #1 sanitary. normally you placed signs on the doors securing the head, and check for a water seal on the ball valve prior to pressurization. normally.
so our young innocent finishes his business, completes the paperwork, and opens the door to the WC to cycle the valves. did i mention that the head was along the pressure hull? this maneuver was common, because it was impossible to stand up in there. a lot of guys would get prepared and then back in to initiate the process, and reverse to exit.
so here are the initial conditions. the WC door is open, the sanitary tank is pressurized, and our young pup is getting ready to become part of seawolf legend. does he check for bubbles? does he slowly crack open the ball valve to see what would happen? does he finish his chore and toodle off merrily, on his way to chow or to releave the watch?
well, actually...no.
what happened next is usually a private experience. but when the door is open, and the tank is pressurized to 150 pounds, and the ball valve slams open, you get a shit laser. yes, a shit laser that travels straight up, hits the curve of the hull, deflects at a 90 degree angle horizontal to the deck, hits the door opposite of it, reflects off, and travels 15 feet across the boat to hit the lockers seperating a couple of bunks. there it is turned into a not so fine brown mist which promptly fills all of the racks with it's odious cargo.
unfortunately for me, i was in my rack at the time, sound asleep. being awaken by a bang, loud cursing, the sound of rushing air and water, and then drenched in the foul mix makes for an abrupt, and rude, awakening.
i don't think we ever got rid of the smell.

and that, boys and girls, is a real no shitter.

bo's first aid tip of the day

thought i'd pass this along to any of my not so numerous readers that may need it.

this evening, we were sitting around the lunch table at work, and the topic of HOT FOOD, as in thermonuclear heat, fire in the mouth, sting ring producing heat came up.
i guess it started when i was shaking on the habenero sauce on my dinner. one of the guys commented that he liked the taste and sensation that my sauce brought to the dish, but he hated having his mouth and lips burn for the next hour.

so here's my tip:

learned that little trick from an old engineer i used to work with that ate scotch bonnet peppers like fat ladies eat bon-bons. one night he opened a bottle of pickled tabasco peppers and offered me one. so of course i took it. zounds was that hot. he laughed, and tossed me a roll of wintergreen lifesavers. i'd have eaten a fresh cow pattie if it would have cut the fire at that point. almost instantaneous relief. so now i have a bag of individually wrapped lifesavers in my desk drawer, and hand them out to those too foolish to read the warning lables. or when we get gai gra prow chicken from the local thai restaurant, when the old woman is cooking. medium to her is way above most people's pain threshold. tasty, but hot. just the way i like it. here is a recipe that looks like it is pretty close to the stuff we get at the restaurant, except i don't think the old woman uses jalapenos. she probably uses thai peppers, also known as little red atomic death units. pops grows one called the Thai Firebird that will definitely get your attention.
so here is the recipe stolen in toto from the link above. it's pretty darned good. vary the pepper amount to vary the heat, but the hotter, the better for this dish. the link takes you to an online thai import store, where various products for authentic thai dishes are available.

Thai Chicken with Basil


  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mixed red & green jalapeno peppers
  • 1 teaspoon green peppercorns, whole.
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves, add ground pepper if preferred
  • You can vary this recipe by adding a medium diced spanish onion or sliced green onions, or a combination.
  • 1 pound ground or minced chicken


The garlic, shallots, peppers and peppercorns are ground together in a mortar and pestle. In a hot wok with a little cooking oil, briefly stir fry this paste to bring out the flavor and aroma. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to stir until the chicken is cooked through.


Serve over Thai jasmine rice, or over a fried egg or egg crepe, placed on the rice. For dinner it goes well with the hot and sour tom yum soups, as well as curries and other Thai food.

Add the usual Thai table condiments as well as ground chilis and sugar. You might add ground black pepper also.

editor's note: raw sugar will work here, but you need to cut back a bit on the proportions. i may have to try this with honey too. black peppercorns would be an acceptable sub for the green.

as in any recipe: you don't have to be a slave to the printed word for non-baking recipes. experiment, bring some of your experience to the dish. who knows? you might be the next food channel chef!

bothenook sez: check it out!

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

how to relax after a long day at work

here i sit, 2 a.m., or 0200 for those of you folks that know how to tell time. just came in from enjoying a nice relaxing spell on my back patio at the picnic table, where it's about 55 degrees out, dark, with a very light rainfall in progress. so how does one relax after an arduous day at work? well, with a funny book, a silver label romeo y julietta reserve maduro cigar, and an adult beverage made with the juice of one orange, picked just for the occasion, a couple pieces of ice, and a liberal dose of blue label smirnoff's vodka. that's how
a quote from the book:
...but they did see eye to eye about some of those people who, for one reason or another, were inclined to worship the Prince of Darkness. Crowley always found them embarrassing. You couldn't actually be rude to them, but you couldn't help feeling about them the same way that, say, a Vietnam veteran would feel about someone who wears combat gear to Neighorhood Watch meetings.

i finally found my camera cable!!! so here's a picture i took christmas day, of some of the food as it was getting set up for serving. let's see: there's an herb crusted pork loin roast, a 12 pound applewood smoked turkey, and an 8 pound salt crust fillet minon tenderloin beef roast, and of course the twice baked spuds. and that was just one counter. i posted about this at this place
click on image for larger version

Monday, February 14, 2005

get out the forks and knives kiddies

a couple of years ago, PETA used images of concentration camps as a metaphor for feed lots, comparing the holocaust to the meat industry. understandably, this created quite an uproar in and around the web. so meryl of yourish fame fanned the flames, and we now have International Eat an Animal for PETA day. so remember to mark your calendars for March 15th. no diets are allowed on that day that don't require at least a pound of meat! check her out at the link above. this is one of my favorite holidays! i get to flip the finger to those PETA morons, and i get to eat guilt-free meat! how cool is that? last year i made a big deal out of it and made sure the folks around me knew that i was ordering a steak for PETA. the year before, i was cheap, and only ordered a hamburger.
oh, i think i am going to get a t-shirt made up saying something to the effect of "Pound down a Pound for PETA!" with "3rd Annual Eat an Animal for PETA Day March 15,2005" on the back. mmmm, bright yellow with magenta letters? any suggestions?

sea story time

back when i was a young and impressionable, pure as the driven snow nuclear submariner, i would never ever think of doing anything that could be considered a practical joke. never. it didn't take long being onboard a submarine to break me of that. i learned at the feet of masters, and continue to be a jokester to this day. a couple of the great jokes we pulled, one i didn't participate in but observed, and one i did the dirty deed all by myself.

great practical joke #1: underway on nuclear power, somewhere far away from shore power cables. the boat was in stealth mode, and the officer of the deck (OOD) was required to wear "rig for red" goggles when the white lights were on in the control room. this was not standard operating procedure, but where we were, and what we were doing required the OOD to have his night vision intact all watch long. so while the rest of us were wandering around in a brightly lit submarine, the OOD lived in a red lensed world. one of the OOD's was a non-nuke (yeah, we had them on seawolf, but there weren't many nuke submarines with any non-nuke officers except the supply officer.) Lt. G. was not a nuke, but was part of ship's company, and stood OOD watches underway. he was an ok guy, but every once in a while, some streak of asshole would crop up, and he'd lash out at whomever was closest, usually the quartermaster of the watch (QMOW). one night, Lt. G was wearing his "atom ant" goggles on watch, and pissed off the QMOW somehow. about 45 minutes into the watch, he told the QMOW to go down to crews mess, and get him a cup of coffee.
minor diversion, but important to the story: during WWII, the navy issued card decks with the hearts and diamonds outlined in black, because when wearing red goggles, you cannot see RED.
back to the story. QMOW drops down to the ship's office, where he borrowed a red ink stamp pad from the yeoman, out of sight of the control room. he then proceeded to the crews mess, and rolled a white coffee cup (the kind with the two blue stripes for how high to fill the cup in heavy seas and not spill anything... sailors all know what these cups look like) on the red stamp pad, so that the entire cup below the bottom blue line was covered in red ink. he then proceeded to fill the cup with coffee, dropped some ice in it so that it would be drinkable in huge gulps. the QMOW presented the coffee to Lt. G. and sat back. 10 minutes later...go get another cup (amazing how fast you go thru coffee when it's not piping hot!) again, the pad and cup action yielded a big red band along the bottom third of the cup.
by the end of the watch, Lt. G. was furious, pissed, tweeked, torqued. he couldn't understand why everytime someone walked by, they'd chuckle. he didn't understand why the chief of the watch, or the diving officer wouldn't look him straight in the face. he couldn't figure out why when he gave a depth change order, the acknowledgement to the order came back strained, barely covering unrestrained laughter.
picture the following: a naval officer, standing the "most important" watch onboard a nuclear submarine, with red ears, red nose, red armpits, and a huge red blotch in the groin area and in the seat of his pants, almost exactly in the the middle between the back pockets of his uniform. basically everywhere he touched, he was red. and i mean everywhere. just imaging how many different places you would touch during 4 hours of boredom, scratching here, rubbing there, picking this and that.
i was amazed at how nice Lt. G was to the watchstanders afterwards. guess he figured out that he could be gotten to with absolutely NO effort.

tale 2 later.

continuing ruminations of submarine duty

i am not going to specify which young duty officer this conversation was held with, but he has attained a lofty position in the navy lately. this story was passed on to me by many of the crew that were onboard when it occurred.

disclaimer: i was not actually privy to this conversation, but it is like many held onboard, underway, on the midwatch, during times of incredibly boring transits.

Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW): "you know, it's been proven that kids who's parents went to college are more intellegent than those who didn't"


Reactor Operator (RO): "so that means if i get the money together to send my mom and dad to college, i'll get smarter?"

god, i miss those conversations.

good job Scotty!

i post the following as found. Scott Van Buskirk was a very green fresh enswine back in the day when i ruled the roost on seawolf as a civilian nuclear test engineer. i woke his ass up many times on the midwatch to intiate work permits, clear tags, or perform tests. he's definitely one of the good ones. congratulations big guy.

Van Buskirk Selected To Lead Navy Total Force Task Force
By Robert A. Hamilton, New London Day, 13 Feb 05
Rear Adm.-select Scott R. Van Buskirk, a former commodore of Submarine Development Squadron 12 at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, has been picked for a high-visibility assignment supervising a new program to make the most effective use of Navy personnel.
Van Buskirk, currently chief of staff to the Atlantic submarine force commander, Vice Adm. Charles L. Munns, will be the first commander of the Total Force Task Force in Washington, D.C.
The initiative has the enthusiastic backing of the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Vernon E. Clark, and the Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Gerald L. Hoewing.
The Air Force rolled out its Total Force proposal earlier this year to more closely integrate Reserve and Guard units into the active duty force. For instance, some of its Guard units that now fly older F-16s will soon fly the next-generation F/A-22 Raptor, and Guard and Reserve personnel will soon be operating unmanned air vehicles in combat theaters from bases in Nevada and Texas.
The Navy plan would be even more ambitious, making better use not only of its Reserve forces and active forces, but also taking a comprehensive approach to training and outfitting its civilian workers and contractors.
Total Force would seek to incorporate more technology into the fleet to eliminate some of the most unfulfilling tasks sailors have to perform today - for instance, rather than paying a 22-year-old sailor to carry around a clipboard and record engine temperatures on a ship, installing sensors that track the temperatures and record them automatically onto the ship's intranet.
Many of the personnel policies are also being overhauled, such as targeting the Navy's selective re-enlistment bonuses to sailors in specialties that are in demand and understaffed.
Clark has also talked about a "pay for performance" policy, which would require a change in the law, so that top-performing sailors in understaffed specialties could draw a larger paycheck.
Van Buskirk was nominated for rear admiral last March. A native of California, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1979 with a degree in management technology, and after nuclear training was assigned to the USS Seawolf, SSN 575, from 1981-84, where he started out as a junior officer but advanced to weapons officer before leaving the boat.
He served tours as engineer on the USS Salt Lake City, SSN 716, and as navigator and operations officer on the USS Tunny, SSN 682, before he served as executive officer on the USS Georgia, SSBN 729, from 1992-94.
Van Buskirk took command of the USS Pasadena in October 1996, and during his tour earned the Squadron Seven Battle "E" as the most combat-ready submarine. The Naval Submarine League selected him for the 1999 Rear Adm. Jack N. Darby Award for Inspirational Leadership. He served as commander of Squadron 12 from 2001-03.

Friday, February 11, 2005

the latest word on the SSN-711 skipper

i think i'm going to be sick. just another mark in the book of why i hated the navy. too bad we couldn't have had submarines without the bullshit navy cover the admiral's ass mentality running the show. i'd still be on the boats. read about it here. this is also why i tell kids that ask me about the navy to find something else to do with their life. the navy has absolutely no history of standing behind and supporting it's people. when we needed support in the submarine community, it came from the submariners, not the navy.
ye olde bubblehead over at the stupid shall be punished has a much better writeup. his blog's name is kind of ironic, considering the circumstances of this post. but i don't think the stupid in the case were punished (the ones in charge of providing accurate nav charts, and the ones that provided his plot from squadron). sad, really sad.
our friend willyshakes provides us with take on the issue over at Unconsidered Trifles.

the brave new world of the information age

let's see. dan rather got his eyebrows burned off from the flash of the blog bomb that hit him. try to pull a shady sneaky underhanded trick, and there will be someone out there with enough know-how and is connected to the world via the blogosphere that will call you on it. now eason jordan got his hand blown off by the same grenade he tried throwing at the american military. so he's stepping down, the "prevent cnn from being tarnished" or some such crap. michelle malkin posts quite a roundup of the activities that lead to jordan's demise. one thing she reports is that the dreaded MSM (in a survival tactic) is saying the blogosphere "lynch mobbed" eason. all i ask is to be allowed to stand at least near the edge of the crowd when they take the mob scene picture. i'd like to show it to my grandkids that poppa was there when the stranglehold on news and information was torn from the hands of the MSM.

and what about the dreaded MSM? in sacramento, there is an ongoing flail i posted about last night regarding some folks that hung an american soldier in effigy. the news organizations here in the area (14 of them in the greater sacto area) all showed up last night with cameras and microphones. the general tone of the reports was that these people's first amendment rights were being squashed. they got a copy of a tape showing someone tearing down the display, and went on and on about how horrible this was. never once was there any questioning of the neighbors about their feelings. i would be in court sueing these idiot pinheads just for the loss of property value they've caused. but what really chaps my ass is that the marine mom, and the folks that live next door (the jews that have to look at the palistinian flag all the time) that filed a hate crime complaint were completely ignored. they were told that they wouldn't be interviewed because it would be "too controversial". the only place you can find anything about the folks that are not happy with the display was on the local newstalk radio station KFBK. they were the only ones that presented an opposing view of what is going on. too controversial, indeed. the only problem i have with just one source of information on what is going on is that the talk show host, mark williams, is something of a whackjob in his own right. entertaining, but myoptic at times. one thing he did mention is that this whole thing started just about the time of the auchwitz anniversary ceremonies. that coupled with the reported ongoing tensions between the part time sacto/part time berkeley lawyers (i guess you really can't do or say anything anymore that would badmouth lawyers that hasn't already been said or printed) and their jewish neighbors could very easily take this display from an in very poor taste political statement unto the realm of a hate crime. i know with the split between ideologies surrounding the iraqi war, it would not be too great a stretch to see some sort of violence coming from this. that would be a sad day for all, but especially for those that oppose this cruel spectacle. it would seem these idiots are in a win-win situation, because any action against them not only reenforces their stand, but deminishes those of us that believe in civil and open protests. protesting is our right, granted by the constitution. but what these asshats are doing is spitting in the eye of every single military member and their families. hang a soldier in effigy indeed.

sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander

ok, so i stole the title for this entry from a comment to smash's entry about a veteran/scholar that filed a complaint that a history professor's display of anti-war, anti-Bush administration statements on his office door created a learning environment that is hostile to veterans. the comments are great.

and then you have these pinheads from where else, berkeley, that own a house in sacramento. they hung an american uniform, with a balled up american flag for a head and a sign on the chest stating "your american tax dollars at work". hung as in rope around the neck, effigy style. their whole attitude is screw you, we can do what we want because this is our property. and actually, i agree. they have the right to express their opinions. they've even gone so far (it's been reported, although there are no pictures that i know of) as to put a palestinian flag in their front window, knowing the neighbors across the street are jewish. fine. really poor taste, but still free speech. except i heard on the way home from work that a marine mom has filed a hate crime complaint against the owners of the house. now that cracks me up. because the folks that are causing such a stir obviously fall in the group that would think an arab joke is a hate crime, but it's ok for them to do this, because hey, they are of the anointed ones, you know, the politically correct folks. just more evidence that the thinking on the far left is as or more toxic than the thinking on the far right. i don't think there's a scintilla of difference between these losers and the worst hard core goosestepping skinhead from deepest darkest boonieland.
i hate the thought of our first amendment right to free speech can be so carelessly abused and used, by both parties. but i think it's cool as hell that the wackjobs that hung an american soldier in effigy could get smoked by the same bullshit rules they hid behind if this complaint of "hate crime" sticks.

how to become a submariner

sir bubblehead posted a great entry about what it takes to get into submarines. check it out.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

some thoughts on being a submariner

i was stationed on board a nuclear fast attack submarine, from 1974 until 1981. during that time, i spent a lot of time at sea, and a lot of time in port, usually going through some sort of upkeep. that includes a refueling overhaul. so i had a good mix of experiences. i loved being on submarines. i hated being in the navy. i loved being at sea, i hated the nickel and dime bs that usually accompanied being in port. the only time i really felt like i was able to do my job was underway.
two things about the boats that stand out in my memory are:
1: real air stinks. after spending over 3 months underway, with the boat sealed up, the atmosphere becomes your norm. it's normal to smell cooking grease, feet, hydraulic oil, amines (used to scrub C02 from the air). when you pop the hatch, and real air washes down into the engine room, it stinks. of course, after a long time underwater, there are a bunch of little sea critters that attach themselves to the hull. after surfacing and transiting for just a little while, said critters die, and start to stink. that adds to the smell. but inside, the air we breathed was mechanically cleaned, scrubbed, polished, buffed to a high sheen, dust removed, and zapped through an electrostatic precipitator to get the big chunks out. remember a couple of years ago, one of the vacuum cleaner companies started selling air purifiers for the home, and the big advertisement hook was it was the same technology as used in nuclear submarines? so even if the air was foul with all kinds of hydrocarbons and whatnot, it was pretty pure. of course, the really funny thing is that when popping a hatch, if there is positive pressure in the compartment, a brown foggy haze roils out. so maybe the air in the boat isn't so "pure".

2: city water is horrible. on the boat, when we cast all lines and services off to go to sea, we didn't have a pipe running to the city municipal water supply. we made our own. as in distilled our own. as in, the water was so pure, that if there was even the slightest carryover in the evaporator, everyone on the boat could taste it. and the amounts i'm talking about are miniscule, like down around 3 parts per million salinity. as opposed to the 500 to 750 ppm salinity in the city tap water in sacramento. when we would get back from sea, one of the very first things i would do would be to take a VERY LONG SHOWER, with very hot water. when you are used to showering in less than 5 gallons of water, running the shower for 5 minutes is an almost sensuous luxury. but there was a price to be paid. that price? red eyes, labored breathing, and itchy skin, all caused by the chlorine in the water. even very lightly chlorinated water would adversely affect you until reacclimation.

some of my very favorite memories of being at sea centered around being surfaced. we didn't do that very often, but sometimes when we were transiting home, or just dinking around on training ops, the skipper would surface the boat and let us come topside to the bridge for a little "bridge liberty". one of my very favorite times was when we were in the western pacific, down in the tropics. the night was crystalline clear, with more damned stars shining than imaginable, and a big bright full moon. the air was warm, sweet, and clean. the seas were almost glassy, reflecting the moon so that it looked like we were driving down the yellow brick road, sailing towards that fat yellow orb. behind us, the luminous critters that live near the surface in those latitudes glowed, and reflected the red and green running lights, leaving several hundred yards of phosphorescent wake pointing to where we had come from. the quiet hiss of water slipping along our hull as we sailed forward added a treble pitch to the bass of the main turbines. sweet sweet music to a sailor heading home after a long deployment.

interesting things you see when looking at a map

i just posted the google maps site, and decided to do a little geographical tourism. my folks live in washington state, in a little place called Seabeck, which is alongside the Seabeck Bay, on the hood canal. what i didn't realize during any of the times i've been there to visit, (they moved well after i left home) was that the big opening in the canal near misery point was dabob bay. for non-west coast submariners, that might mean anything. but for those of us that went through complete overhauls, or ended up needing recertifications for various weapons and sound silencing systems (think Klingon Cloak of Invisibility), dabob bay played a big part in retesting these systems. i remember a couple of trips to dabob bay, and it amazes me that i didn't realize how close to my folks it is. mom is always talking about watching submarines go by, but i was basically clueless that the bangor submarine base is on one side of them, and dabob bay is on the other.
when we were in washington for post overhaul testing, we did all kinds of ops in dabob bay. we would stay out at night sometimes, just poking along at 1 or 2 knots, looking at all the lit up houses along the shore. i wonder if i saw my folk's house before they did?
and another cool thing is that druid labs west is almost directly north of my folks. considering pop has restaurants in bremerton and silverdale now, with possibly another one going in somewhere nearby, it's a better than zero chance my folks will see bhd before i do. a very big world rendered small.

neat maps utility

double cool. i found a neat map utility by google that is a bazillion times better and easier to use than mapquest. it can be found at maps.google.com it has a really useful click and drag feature, and a better zoom feature than that other map program.
what will those kids at google think of next?

more on ORSE boards

Rob posted an interesting response about training and orse boards to THIS post. great reading.
and as a bit of clarification to those that may not understand the big deal about getting an Excellent on an ORSE board: when the seawolf was graded as excellent, we were the first nuclear vessel (submarine or surface) in the pacific fleet to have received that grade in 18 months. they did not hand them out as freely as the air force hands out attendance to morning muster medals.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

submandave whacks one

the ongoing flail-ex over the head of cnn's remarks in davos continues. submandave blogged a very well thought out arguement that perhaps the cause of all the journo's deaths could be attributed back to their bosses requiring "front line embedding". check it out. well done, dave, well done.

bumper sticker/license plate frame of the day

followed a bright red jetta today. the driver was an early 20's hottie. license plate frame:
If you are going to ride my ass
you better pull my hair.

funny, wrong, and if it was on my daughter's car i'd kick her ass.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

pentagon sets new rules of engagement for journalists

oh, easongate is geting really really good. i'm glad that scrappleface was on the scene to pass on the information. this guy is funny. but the commenters to his post are funnier.

sorry in advance for the following

you know you've been at work too long when the following conversation occurs.
i'm pulling my lunch out of the fridge. in the bag is a nice piece of cheese to eat with my apple. i look over at baldy, and ask if he would like a chunk?
"is it gouda?"
"yup, edam up."

i really need to go home

remembering legends

i was reading the post over at argghh about the SSN-711, and a few things struck a chord with me. one is about how the ship had received a "below average" on her operational reactor safeguards exam (ORSE) the previous year, before Cmdr Mooney took command. and how this last year they were the steely eyed killers of the deep of legend, up to and including receiving an Excellent on their ORSE. for the non-submarine types out there, there really is no way to explain what an ORSE board is, other than it takes hundreds of operational hours and untold classroom hours to prepare for. it's more than an administrative audit, although that's a big part of the board. a commanding officer, his engineering officer, and the division officer responsible for the faux pas can lose their jobs if an irregularity is found. the SEC has nothing on the ORSE team. i worked boats at mare island that lost senior officers because of admin failures. but the real ugly, hard, trying part is the drills.
when my first skipper turned over the seawolf to Charlie MacVean, we were a really sad and dispirited crew. there had been a major bloodbath just prior to my arriving on board, and it was due to the engineering lab techs (my division), so we were seriously under the microscope. when Charlie Mac took over, basically Rickover told him the boat would be scrapped if the crew wasn't turned around. we were basically at the point where a single screwup would have been enough to get the boat welded to the pier (we received an unsat minor....a simple hairs breadth away from failure on the previous ORSE). the crew was shit hot, with one hell of a knowledge base. but they/we had lost faith in the wardroom, and the "give a shit" attitude was pervasive throughout the boat. Charlie Mac took over, turned the crew upside down, read us the riot act, and then treated us like the professionals we were. he explained what was at stake, and then pitched in. when we did field days in the engineering spaces, the rest of the boat usually ran routine whatever. not with Charlie Mac. he had the entire crew in the engineering spaces (guess how impressed we were, and how unimpressed the rest of the crew was!). we did extra field day. we did weekends alongside the pier, drilling, training, then field daying. but it was not an onerous chore like it had been before he showed up. he definitely put his money where his mouth was, so to speak. the engineer, main propulsion assistant, the electrical division officer, the supply officer, the navigator, the weapons officer, ALL of the officers were in the spaces with us, coveralls on, shoulders down, ass up in the bilges, cleaning and painting alongside the rest of the crew. the skipper was in maneuvering, coveralls on, paintbrush in hand, painting the panels. when he said that the boat only worked when the whole crew worked together, he took that statement and made it a reality. by the time we made it through our squadron workups with flying colors, which the squad dog told us afterwards "we knew you guys were going to fail", we were ready for the worst and prepared to give our best.
the orse team came aboard on a transfer off of alcatraz island, and we set off for the 100 fathom curve, and the submarine operational area for our testing.
we killed them. not only did we show what we were capable of in drill scenarios, we tore them up in the knowledge areas as well. and the boat, bless it's little nuclear heart, decided to REALLY show these guys what was what. in the matter of a couple of shifts, we had several real casualties that would have put most boats down for days. we were so used to these types of problems, like a switchgear breaker blowing out of the board simply because it was old, and we'd been cycling the hell out of the system during the drill responses. our electricians were so used to problems, they had almost every contingency covered. the replacement breaker had already been tested (we tested our spares with the rest of the system during routine maintenance), a procedure had already been written up with a tagout made up, staged in the "aw shit" book in maneuvering. they had the old breaker out, buss works repaired, the new one in, tested, and the electric plant back on line in under 2 hours. for us, routine. for the orse team, they had never seen anything like it.
so when hagar says the crew was tight, and that "I will only say that the San Fran was the best damn sub in the Navy under CDR Mooneys leadership. We proved that. God bless him and his family no matter what happens in the future, he is truly a good man." i know what he means.
a little snippet about my old skipper charlie mac :
"There was something about Commander Charles R. MacVean that had a way of inspiring a legend. It wasn't the way he looked: tall, a little chunky, and in his late thirties already crowned by a thatch of thinning gray hair. This was a man who could stand beneath a hatch after being doused with a column of water, deadpan and still chewing his dripping pipe. This was also a man who had led the nuclear attack submarine USS Seawolf on one of the most dangerous operations of the Cold War."

Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage

the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with doing a job well is magnified when it is done well with others. we were a crew, with one of the most magnificent men i've ever had the privilege to work with as my skipper. i know how hagar feels when he states with pride that his boat was the best damned sub in the navy under his skipper's leadership. damn. one good thing. i get to see my old skipper this summer at our boat's 50th birthday reunion. that should be a blast.
Dr. Charles R. MacVean, i salute you, and thank you for showing me what an adult does when confronted with hard decisions. (that story is for another time)

more stuff on the San Francisco grounding

the submarine community is still buzzing about the SSN-711 grounding, as you might well imagine. there has been a shyte-storm in our ranks about a pinhead over at the SFTT website (i will not deign to post a link. you want to know more, google it).
there are a number of sites with information and posts by submariners speculating on what happened, and i'll post some links in a second. i'd like to post the following from the senior chief (hagar the 'orrible), a long time poster and bulletin board buddy on martini's site. if you've read my earlier posts, you'd know that hagar was the auxilliary division chief, and it was his man (cooter) that died. so here's one of his posts regarding the speculation, stolen entirely from Martini's BBS. i do this only because these messages scroll off into the never never land when enough gets posted to the board.
I will keep this simple so that everybody can understand. This is not open for conjecture or comment, if you were not there, don't worry about it, read about it in the official report, ok? We were transiting to Brisbane from Guam. We had a SubNote for our water from Group 7 that we were operating under. We were not in an area where US submarines normally transit through or operate in. Understand that?
We did not hit another submerged unit, it was not steel or hull tile we pulled out of our superstructure, it was ROCK, not even coral. We did not have a more senior officer to our Captain onboard, no matter what else you have read on other sites with writers trying to make names for themselves.
Get over the conjecture, and wait for the rest of the official report, some of us get sick of it.
The crew of the San Fran are doing good, we are one of the best in the fleet, and the tightest crew I've ever served with in 21 years of punching holes, From Captain, to Striker. I'm proud to be a member, and support every action we've done since we grounded to a stop on that bad day. I'm posting this because we had the strength and training to ensure that we were not posted as a list of lost, with a coordinate, 'NUFF said.
Get Some!

i know that the few of us that are submariners that blog are all hitting on the same info, and i hate the redundancy of it all, but that's the blogosphere.
willyshakes links to a post over at Argghhh, a website run by "the two jonah's". they are not submariners, but they have the very latest email sent out by hagar, with explanations of the acronyms we in the submariner community use in lieu of english. all of those abbreviations (why is that word so long?) and acronyms help shortcut communications. they also make us almost unintelligable to the non-initiated.
joel over at the stupid shall be punished talks about the whole "conspiracy theory" aspect most recently, but you will find willyshakes, joel, a bunch of us on martini's, and i have all bandied this subject around.

Monday, February 07, 2005

thoughts from an american diplolmat

well, if you've followed the blogosphere long, you saw and read of the diplomad, a foreign service officer in the thick of things after the tsunami. he was writing a blog before, but his reports on the ineptitude and averice of the un folks gained him blogwide fame. for whatever reason, he's pulled the plug, but one of his fellow diplos in europe writes a consistantly informative and intellegent blog. a snip from one of his latest posts:
As Eban once said, the Arabs can have peace or they can have war, but what they can't have is peace in their own nations and war in ours. We're ever so sorry that hurts our standing in Cairo, but there you have it. No doubt we weren't very damn popular in Tokyo circa 1943 as well.
if you haven't checked out New Sisyphus yet, you are missing out. the link to the post quoted above is found here. i guess i think this person is really smart, because he says what i've been saying for a long time, only way, way better.
it's humbling at times, reading folks on the blogosphere. sure are a lot of educated and smart (those two words do not necessarily go together) folks out there. if you want the polar opposite of smart, visit the democratic underground. you want smart, visit sis and his blogbuds.

some more about my newly favorite marine general

boy, did i catch some flack this weekend over my remarks about My favorite general. but that's ok, because i stand by what i said, and still think that's the kind of man to lead our troops into battle. if you spend some time bouncing around the blogosphere, you'll come across entries by guys that served with him and would follow him to hell, just to see what's going to happen next.
anyway, Varifrank puts it all into pretty good perspective.
and for another look, check out sunday's ny post. it was written by someone sitting next to our favorite general during the conference. it's a good read

edit: if you are interested in the current dustup regarding our favorite general, and comparisons to the nickleson version of a marine general, check out willyshake's take on the subject. editorial aside here... it's obvious why some of the dudes that were officers in the submarine community were officers and not lowly slime enlisted pukes like me. want to see what the difference is? read some of my entries, then go visit willyshakes or Bubblehead's blogs. wish i was able to put my thoughts down as concisely and eruditely as they do. oh well, some of us recognize we are chainsaws in a scalpel world.

so did you watch the big game?

we didn't. it's pretty nice having the whole town to ourselves. di and i poked around the house, then went out shopping for groceries. you know, it's really easy to spend a shitload of money when you go to costco! and i have to admit, a big hunk of the money we spent was for restocking the booze locker for when we have guests. so you know what that means, right? come on over, i've got the good stuff.
as part of going out, i "missed" the advertisements and halftime show. since i'm such a non-fan, that's what i'd be watching, and i've better things to do than sit my keister on the couch for however long the superbowl show was, just to watch frigging commercials. there is one that i missed though, and i wish i'd seen it on something bigger than a windows media player 2x2 inch window. tom sullivan, my favorite radio talkshow host in sacramento spent the better part of my commute talking about this commercial by budwieser beer. i'm glad there were no witnesses, because my eyes filled with tears watching it. so i'm a sentimental sucker, or is it a mental....
anyway, i went out to the networld, and it's amazing how small minded some of the pinheads writing about this ad are. everyone from the nyt to the local sfchronicle had assinine comments. i just don't get it.
to all of the kids, and their families, that have put their lives on the line, i salute you. thank you for your service, and thank you for your sacrifices.
and to all the pinheaded asshats out there, fuck you for being so clueless.
one of tom's callers emailed him a letter from someone who was an employee for american airlines, and she works at one of the two airports the kids coming back from overseas land in, dfw i think. she said the reactions on the commercial have become a daily occurence at the airport. (i found where it came from . it's over at Michelle Malkin's home on the web.) i remember leaving chicago in jan73, on my way home from machinest mate "A" school. i was flying in my dress blues, because i didn't have any other clothes to wear. i got jeers, and crap from a bunch of people, up to and including being called a baby killer. pretty funny, since i wasn't much more than a baby myself, and the 5 1/2 months i'd spent in the navy up to that point had been in boot camp and schools. one guy tried grabbing my uniform flap and found himself wedged between a couple of marines i had been talking to while waiting in the USO lounge for my flight. pretty funny looking at those eyes, because he knew he was in deep kimchee. i don't think they hurt him too badly, but i do know they made their point.
one of the things i've been doing for several years now is thanking service folks for their sacrifices and duty. i think it started out from postings on the sub board, but it's almost automatic now, and always heartfelt. for those who serve and have served, they understand. for those who haven't, only a few will ever realize what it means to be in the military, serving your country.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

great collection of photos

one of the regular posters over at the submarine board is an aussie bubblehead. he has posted a link to a great collection of pictures about aussie submarines. follow the Beneath Southern Seas.
as an aside, my buddy bobT posted a typical bobbism.
and i quote: " Great pictures. Our Navy might have a few more submarines, but yours has the "way cool" sweaters."

anyone interested in the official bobT cookie jar of sayings let me know. when we worked at Mare Island together, bob was the IT guy for our department (nuclear engineering). when we logged on the mainframe computer, he had a routine that would insert a pithy saying from the cookie jar. we all contributed, and i got the whole thing before they shut down our building during base closure. i used it as part of a javascript routine that cycled through the sayings list. the web site no more, but the file is still available.

a taste: "pioneers get all the arrows", and it was also the first place i saw "If you aren't the lead dog, the scenery never changes".

they made a real mistake when they installed the VAX computer. bob knew i was taking computer science classes in college (that was fun, working 60+ hours a week as a nuclear test engineer, 3 kids, 2 dogs, a tub full of turtles, a crazy (now ex) wife that spent every penny i made weeks before the check hit the bank, and 20 semester hours of computer, math, physics, and general ed stuff) so he challenged me to try to break the system. i did. pissed off the entire department when they had to bring the software engineers up from VAX headquarters, with a new operating system to reload and fix my tinkering. bob told me i wasn't allowed to try to break it anymore.

good times

Saturday, February 05, 2005

coffee shop ruminations

i sat outside the coffee shop, sharing a quick cup of java with my wife before scrambling off to work. a couple of things popped into my head, and they've been fermenting in there since. so here goes.
i'm always amazed at how hard some folks try to be so different they become anonymous within the context of the group they identify themselves with. case in point, the young man that looked like a weird science experiment that went horribly wrong in trying to cross a monkey with a parrot. you've seen those guys, right? the twentysomething, slack jawed, dull eyed "rebel" with the shaved head and parti-colored mohawk? first of all, man is that look outdated. if looking for anonymity, a rainbow hair ridge isn't going to cut it. if looking for attention, try cleaning up, and wear a suit. not only will that get you attention, it might get you a job, with the benefit of taking you off of the cop's radar. or find some other, more original means of standing out. the look was laughable, not laudable.

other habitutes and denizens at the shop look interesting. take the two early 30's ladies that sit inside, and knit. they've been there every time i stop in for a cup on the way to work. i can't tell you what they look like, and certainly couldn't point them out to you on the street, but within the walls of the shop, they have presence. standing in line next to their table is kind of cool. these two are either sisters, or very good, old friends. they have an easy way of talking to each other that denotes familiarity and respect/love. all i've ever heard them talk about as i stood in line was about this pattern, or that technique. for them, their spot in the shop is probably an escape from the daily chores and responsibilities of being mommy. don't know, but i envy their total ease with each other, and the obvious calm they radiate.

then there's the obligatory angry old man/crazy guy. i'm not sure if he's just angry, crazy, or angry because he's crazy. he just sits, sipping his coffee, using his newspaper as a prop to look around, hiding his curiosity behind the sports page. you can tell he's angry just by being near him. he fidgets, mutters, glares at cars driving by, and generally gives off that "don't mess with me or i'll kill you" vibe. he even drinks his coffee angrily. it almost feels as if he is waiting for the world to notice him so he can vent his anger on all of us. after a while, he gets on his bike, and rides away. it has been the same every time i've seen him. for all i know, he could be one of the really interesting people in the universe, but i'm hesitant to approach or even acknowledge his presence, for fear of having my day ruined. maybe i'm not as adventurous as i thought.

the teenies that hang outside at the tables crack me up. i remember how important i felt as a kid, so i don't begrudge these kids their air of youthful superiority. but i wonder what life has in store for them. a couple look like their's will be a hard hard life, filled with visits from the cops to trips to the morgue, identifying friends and/or family. some of these kids are hanging with the hardluck cases because they think it makes them tough, or cool. they'll learn.

Friday, February 04, 2005

stupid quiz time again

i wonder where these these come from? and why do i take them? dunno. i've seen this one before, but it cropped up in my email again today, so off i went.
i'm 50% yankee, whatever that means. want to try it yourself? just follow the clickity click

want to know why folks enlist?

i just finished reading this entry in a blog i followed from Michelle Malkin's blog. very moving, and very well put explanation why americans chose to enter into the military, by someone currently serving in the armed forces.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

damn, life is good

here i sit in my nice computer chair, days work and commute behind me. i've made an adult beverage using the juice of an orange i picked off of my tree 2 minutes ago, a lot of ice, and a very liberal helping of some of mr. smirnoff's finest libations (hey, it's not grey goose, but it IS in a mixed drink. sheesh, gimme a break). and best of all, i have about 3 hours to explore the waiter rants blog i mentioned in my last post. ahhhhh. yup, life is really really good.

now this is my kind of general

oh, i can hear the bleeding hearts and hand wringers now. he's too aggressive... he's too mean... he's a KILLER

what am i talking about? check out this article over at MY WAY. as an aside, this is a manditory daily stop for news junkies. they have the top stories from 8 or 9 news services available without a bunch of junk popping up when you go visit.
back to my story
here's an american marine general, in front of an audience, and he has the balls to say
"Actually it's quite fun to fight 'em, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling," Mattis said.

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said during a panel discussion. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

oh horrors. a military guy that likes to fight. what's next? a cop that likes busting bad guys? or a teacher that actually likes being in the classroom teaching your child?
we need more of these guys at the top, not less. get rid of the political generals, and put in some meat eaters. fights are fast and furious, and then they are over. no mamby pamby boo hooing about who might or might not be pissed about our kicking some bad guy's ass.

read the rest of the article here

in my attempts to at least acknowledge how and where i find things, i thank an old sparring partner rgj13 (that would be ryan) from my old but now long abandoned stomping grounds over at Radio Paradise. he suggested i find enough variety of inputs so that i wasn't a knuckle dragging single source nut bag. then he suggested MY WAY, and i've been a devoted visitor ever since. by the way, in my links section, i tagged RP as the best internet radio ever, and it still holds true. if you are of my political persuation, though, the comment boards just suck like a $1500.00 hoover vacuum. great music, toxic environment. sometimes i miss the exchanges, but this blog has widened my reach, and my contacts with the outside world. bloggers, thanks for visiting and commenting. especially those of you that disagree with me. i always learn something.

back to our regularly scheduled blog.

oh, before i go, the Daily Demarche posted a link to the waiter rant blog, with a comment that it has become his favorite non political blog. after visiting and reading, i absolutely agree. bothenook sez, check it out.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

second installment of 1000 words

guess ol' kerry was feeling the pain.

ok, ok, so it worked. sheesh, giva a girl a break, will ya?

nancy, how the hell are we going to counter that without looking like lunatics?

ok condi, in 4 years, that will be you giving the speach. learn anything? (we can dream, can't we?)

who needs a superbowl for these munchies?

years ago, i had a roomie who's culinary skills left a lot to be desired. i mean, a lot. he could screw up making top ramen soup. but there was one thing he did well. very, very well. that was making world class munchies with kielbasa and other similar types of sausages. his dad worked at one of the biggest meat packing firms turning out kielbasa, and boy, did his son learn at daddy's feet. much of my appreciation for the versatility and excellent flavor of kielbasa came from sharing a $90.00 a month crappy apartment with this wizard of the links. oh, and i have never really gotten to like top ramen, not after his experiments. gack. it's been said that submariners get to eat some of the best food prepared in the military, but it has nothing to do with what a couple of single sailors fix in their own apartment.
so i've been looking for good kielbasa recipes to round out my kitchen skills, and found the following recipe in today's Sacramento Bee. i'll type it in as found, and at the end, i'll offer a couple of suggestions based on my many many many kielbasa experiences.

this recipe won a national tailgater cooking contest. i can see why

Sweet Onion Kielbasa
prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 25 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 appetizers

  • 1 pound kielbasa sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 ounces beer (dark has more flavor)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons spicy, brown, or Dijon mustard
  • Pepper and/or chili powder (or favorite spices), to taste


slice kielbasa into 1/2 inch medallions

Saute onion in butter until onions are transparent (use low to low-medium heat. takes a little longer, but the onions turn out sweeter). in a large skillet, bring half of the beer to a slow boil and add kielbasa. cook until beer is reduced by half, then add the other half of beer. add honey and mustard, and spices to taste. simmer 5 minutes or until sauce has a thick, honeylike consistency.

onions may be mixed into the finished sauce or added to top as garnish.

MY TURN: i'd add a clove or two of finely minced or crushed garlic to the onions. and while cooking down the beer, i'd add a little vietnamese (Red Rooster) chili paste, to get the flavor into the sausage, not just flavor the coating. another variation would be to use either a really good smoked beef sausage, garlic links, or my favorite, hot cajun links. quite frankly, Miller's Brand of sausages are the best non-deli, commercially available sausages i've found. these will all give great results, because i've personally tried these variations with a similar recipe, and they all work well.
as far as beer is concerned, my favorite sausage beer is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. i know the recipe says use a dark, but that's just my opinion. if you can find a good Gordon Biersch Winter Bock, that would be a killer dish. that would satisfy the dark beer, and Biersch's winter bock is well worth having to hunt for it.

pile on a plate, and hand out the forks.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

can journalists be tried for treason?

i'm so rattled right now that i am only going to post a link to New Sisyphus. go and read what the latest bile the head of CNN has spewed all over our american troops. makes me want to go and punch a tv set in, selected to cnn of course.

blogtheft at work.

ok, at least when i steal something, i try to post where it came from. so the following image was stolen from Jim Treacher which i found by following a link from Tim Blair, which i found by following a link from one of my favorite stops on the blogosphere The Diplomad. ain't the internet fun? so here's the picture i stole, and the caption. for anyone that thinks we did the wrong thing by going to iraq, and you have even a shread of compassion and pride in our military, this image is wrenching. i think the boys and girls that carried this off deserve a serious hat tip. that includes their bosses Rummy and the President.

1000 words

great post on the USS San Francisco

subman dave has a great Q and A post on the San Francisco collision. and while you are over there, read his 1FEB05 post regarding the reportage of iraq's elections. it's a keeper.