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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

submarine memories triggered by a post

the seawolf had a voice activated alarm system called the EY circuit, or as it was affectionately called, "the bitch in the box". to listen to the alarm, follow the link to scotty jacklin's website. he has a recording of a test of the system with all 40 channels sounded.
a couple of folks have posted about the ey circuit, linked in the blog roundup post below. they got me thinking about the circuit, and some of the foolishness generated by having a female voice available while underway for nefarious purposes.

there are more stories than i can tell about things happening with that female voice in the background announcing the end of the world.

here are a couple of memories.

feed station had a flood and a fire alarm, mounted side by side, on the feed gageboard. it was a convenient place to kick back, stretch out in the chair, and put your feed up next to. if the boat was rocking, or you started to get drowsy, the chances of your foot slipping and activating one or both of those alarms went way up. many is the feed station watch that had to explain to the engineer AND the captain why the alarm was triggered on his watchstation.

bilge level alarms were eventually disabled when we started going into places where a 1MC announcement would not be appropriate. until then, one of my favorite tricks was to take a 3 foot piece of brazing rod, and bend a little hook in the end. then, lying on the deck, using the rod to reach down into the bilge area to lift the float on the level probe. this was tricky, because if you got it right, what the crew heard was "hi". "hi bill" "hi" "hi bill". the engineroom upper level watch on my section was named bill, and i would do it to jerk his chain. nothing like the dulcet tones of a female saying hi when you've been out to see long enough that the driver's tan on your left arm is completely gone.
tricky. i screwed up once, and everyone, including the engineer AND the skipper knew who was doing the deed. "hi" "hi bill" "high bilge level in the engineroom" "high bilge level in the engineroom". followed almost immediately by "petty officer bothenook, report to the captain's stateroom". the skipper thought that since i was so fascinated with the bilges, i should spend a lot more time in them than looking at them. oh well. it was fun while it lasted.

submarines with seawater valves have chicken switches, located in maneuvering to allow the watchstanders to actuate to close all hydraulically operated seawater valves in the event of a casualty. on seawolf, these switches resulted in the ey circuit alarm "valve closure action taken". each of the sets of hull and backup valves also had relays that would trigger an alarm such as "port sstg circulating water valve shut".
the worst thing to hear is the following sequence. "hi bilge level in the engineroom" "flooding flooding in the engineroom" "port main circulating water valves shut" "starboard main circulating water valves shut" "sstg port circulating water valves shut" "sstg starboard circulating water valves shut" "port auxiliary circulating water valves shut" "starboard auxiliary circulating water valves shut" followed by "engineering casualty assistance team to the engineroom"
we used to get about 8 guys together to trip relays in the correct sequence to make it sound like we had real flooding for drills. when your rack is in the torpedo room, and you hear the whole sequence, the first thing you think is not "hmmmm wonder if this is a drill". the first thought is "hmm, wonder if we're going to die."

blogging roundup

not to sound like a broken record, but if you haven't had your latest fix of varifrank, this quote should whet your appetite.
Oh, but Canada’s not so bad, is it? Canada was once a proud and virile State, is now like a tottering old folks home resident that cannot remember what day it is. The slow narcotic of socialism has taken its toll on our northern neighbors and like burned out heroin junkies, the effects of the drug will go for years afterwards even if they were to stop their addiction today.

do go read him today. and every day. i really wish i had the wherewithal and skills to put into words concepts and ideas as well as he does.

and skippy-san posts his response to the movie meme favorite 5 dammit that's floating around the web. i have to say that man's movie preferences mirror mine to an almost frightening degree. the only exception would be that while he thinks Casablanca is at the top of his list, i'd have to say another bogie movie, "The African Queen" should be there. but that's my only gripe. well done, skippy-san.

my amigo the spud bubblehead posts an essay regarding something orson scott card had written about. OSC is a favorite of mine, and i've had his blog linked since i began blogging. read the post, and then read the responses. joel's post generated a post/response that should not be missed by anyone interested in these crazy times.

and chap has a short blurb about something near and dear to my heart. we used to have a female voice alarm circuit, and after 119 days at sea, any female voice, regardless of message, would get your attention. and when that voice is telling you there's flooding in a compartment... vigilis over at molten eagle has a blurb about the "BITB" as well. the commenters brought up an interesting point about voices and the preferences different groups have regarding the sex of the person at the other end of the phone line. interesting points, worth pondering for a short while.

and lubber has a picture of an astronaut wearing submarine qual dolphins. i think i worked with this guy on parche before she was transferred to bremerton. been a while.

today's bumperstickers

Don't Be Sexist. Broads Hate That

and

one for BHD:
I like poetry, walking on the beach, and poking dead things with a stick

ouchie

we have to get a new roof put on our home. it currently is a 25+ year old wood shake roof, and the insurance companies won't even talk to us about coverage until we do. we just got bids in to replace it with a tile roof. does anyone out there have a spare $25,000 i can have?
yipes

Monday, May 30, 2005

gun-porn, nook style

that phrase cracks me up. of course it comes from john over at Argghh!, some flavor of crazy army dude with really really big guns to play with.

so here's my gun porn for the day. 25 yards, off-hand, rapid fire (less than 10 seconds for 6 shots) double action from my smith and wesson 686 6" .357. one hole, 1.310 inch group center to center. shooting this ammo. not bad for 50 year old eyes, after a pot of coffee and a cigar before heading to the range. of course, without that, i probably wouldn't even be able to hit the target. you just learn to shoot between the shakes!

like i said, i load target quality ammo. i probably would have brought that group down to under an inch in single action. the poor target i shot with the pistols in single action was too shredded to take any meaningful measurements off of.

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click on image for a real size image

life is good.

now i have to go clean the damned guns. bullseye powder may be the workhorse in pisol reloading, but it is dirty as hell. not really a problem though, because i clean my guns after shooting anyway.

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

veggie stirfry

yup, it's time for another installment in bothenook's "why i'm a fat bastard" series of recipes. of course, this one really doesn't fit that mold, but it could if you made about a quart of rice and ate it with this meal, along with a couple of big bottles of chinese Tsingtao beer, and perhaps a big box of chocolates. preferably scharffen berger chocolates. i'm not being a snob. scharffen berger chocolate is inarguably some of the finest chocolate made anywhere. even if it is made in san francisco.

so where was i? oh yeah. a totally veggie stir fry. hey, even a carnivore needs to eat some roughage now and then. and besides, i can come up with so many different meals to cook using the wok i could write my own cookbook. it would be boring, since the techniques are basically the same. but each variation brings a different taste and texture to the table. what's really good about this method of cooking is you can start with just about anything you might have in the fridge, and still come up with a quick and tasty meal.

ingredients:
  • 1 pound of green beans, cut bite sized on the diagonal
  • 3 small zuccinnis, quartered lengthwise, then chopped into fork accessible pieces
  • 3 yellow summer squashes, prepped the same as the zuke
  • 3 summer squashes ( you know the ones. they look like UFO's, squatty and round, with ruffled edges) cut into eighths
  • 4 stalks of celery, cut in half lengthwise, then chopped on the diagonal to make bite sized pieces
  • one bunch of asparagus. snap off the woody end, and cut into bite sized pieces
  • two red bell peppers, cut into thick strips and then chopped into you got it, bite sized pieces. i like red peppers so much that we don't even buy the green ones anymore. they are sweeter, and a lot more kid friendly. i'm not sure why kids will eat these and not green ones, but that has been my experience.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
  • one finger ginger, peeled and minced finely. if you have one of those little ceramic ginger grater, all the better. the willams-sonoma one is a bit high end, but is an example of what i'm talking about. mine is a little 2x3 inch tile that looks kind of like an old school washboard
  • one white onion, cut into about 3/4 inch slices, then chopped to give you what class? that's right, bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup stir fry sauce. i've posted before that my favorite is yoshida's gourmet sauce, but there are others like joyce chen or even kikoman that work as well. just not as well as yoshida's!
  • peanut oil as needed in the wok to keep everything from sticking


take all your veggies, except the garlic, ginger, onion, and red pepper, and put in a steamer for about 10 minutes. if you don't the food will be either burned or almost completely raw at the end of the cooking process.
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once you have the steamer going, stir fry the onions and peppers together. you do this instead of steaming to bring out the sweetness in both.
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keep stir frying until the onions start to turn translucent. when you figure you have about 2 minutes left, toss in the ginger and 1/2 of the stir fry sauce. this is what they look like just before adding the sauce.
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you can see that the onions are just starting to carmelize. dump into a bowl, and then add the veggies to the wok.
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stirfry until you start to see a little color on the asparagus. it will probably cook first. as soon as it shows the veggies are about there, toss in the other half of the sauce and the garlic. i usually like to add the garlic to the onions when i'm first starting out, but it's easy to burn, which gives the dish a bitter taste. adding it near the end leaves the garlic sweet, aromatic, and without a hint of bitterness. toss for a minute or so, then add back the onions and pepper/ginger mix. toss for about 30 seconds, then remove from the stove.

this is what it's all about:
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this is easy, quick, and with the exception of the sauce you use, pretty low in calories, as long as you keep the peanut oil use under control.

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

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

regressing back to my blog roots

today's bumperstickers


Marijuana. Proud Sponsors of...um...we forget!

and

I found God, now it’s my turn to hide

things that go bang: reloading .38 specials

or how i spent a couple of hours this evening.

i love to shoot. i love to shoot a lot. almost more than i love a good cigar and a fine glass of port following a tremendous meal. but shooting requires a bit of coin, if you know what i mean. if you aren't shooting .22's it can get downright expensive. one of the ways i "thought" i would cut costs was by reloading my own ammo. WRONG! i haven't saved a damned dime. but what i have done is discovered a hobby that's right down my little anal-geek-engineering heart. yup. reloading can save you money, if you shoot enough to recoup the startup costs of your gear. but let's check this out.
tonight, i reloaded 500 rounds of 148 grain bevel backed wad cutters over 3 grains of bullseye powder, with an overall length of 1.170 inches for the .38 special. i don't own a 38, but one of life's grand coincidences (well, it's really not a coincidence, since it was planned this way) is that my two .357 magnums shoot 38 special just fine, thank you very much. as a matter of fact, if all i ever shot was 38's out of my 357's, they would last millions of rounds, since the 38's are little pussycats compared to a full house load in 357.
so, i loaded 500 rounds. this is what 500 rounds looks like:

click on pictures for larger image
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the fruits of my labor, 6 boxes of 50 and two bags of 100 each. let's do a breakdown of cost.
  • 500 western nevada 148 grain lead wadcutters: $20.00
  • 500 winchester small pistol primers: $7.50
  • approximately 1500 grains of alliant Bullseye powder: $3.60
grand total: $31.10
now compare that to the cost of purchasing match ammo, which is what this is. a box of 50 runs around $15.00, but if you aren't concerned with match, you can find 38's going for 8-9 dollars a box. so, worst case, i loaded the equivalent of $150.00 dollars of ammo, and best case, $80.00 dollars of run of the mill stuff.
wow, bothenook, that is a real savings!
not when you have 500 rounds readily available, and you don't have to pull out the wallet a couple of times to restock the ammo pile while shooting.
i'll probably shoot off most of this this afternoon, in a casual day of target practice at the range.

so i don't save money, but i get to shoot 5 times as much with quality handrolled ammo.

here are a couple of pictures of my reloading bench. the first one above shows some of the stuff needed to reload, like a scale and a vernier caliper, along with the fruits of my labor.

this is a shot of the reloading bench in all it's glory
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my reloading press is an RCBS 5 stage progressive. the nice thing about the progressive press is i bought individual die plates for each caliber i reload. that way i have the reloading dies already installed in the plate, preset for use. no tinkering around with getting them set properly. all i need to do change calibers is swap out the die plate, change the shell holder, re-adjust the powder charger to the new powder, and whammo, back to work. it saves a ton of time, and it also keeps my rounds consistent, since i've already preset the dies, and locked them into place. i don't leave anything to chance, and run trial rounds through to make sure nothing shifted, but that's just common sense. counting loading the primers into the tube, but not the tinkering with powder charge weight adjustments, it takes me about 20 minutes to load 100 rounds, if i'm not in a hurry. if i'm in a hurry, it always takes longer.

and any reloader worth damn has at least a couple of reloading manuals on his shelf
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and a stack of bullets waiting to be reloaded
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i like using Oregon Trails Laser-Cast bullets a lot. i buy direct from them, and that helps on the cost. shipping costs on a box of lead sucks though, let me tell you. their 255 grain semi wadcutter for the 45 long colt is great, as are all their other bullets i've tried, like the 170 grain flat nose 30-30 bullets. shot a boar through the skull AND severed it's spine with a head on shot with one of those gems, and the bullet held up. dropped that big tusker in his tracks. he was a damned good tasting critter. mmmmmm, smoked honey and salt cured ham. mmmm. homemade bacon. mmm. oop, sorry. mind kind of wandered there for a moment

here is a box of jewels. this is another way i make shooting a little more affordable. this is a box of remington 125 grain golden saber hollow points for the .357's. when i buy 2000 at a time, it costs me a lot less than buying them by the 100, as is typical. i bought this box on sale for less than $100.00. two boxes of these usually last me about a year. (thanks to smith and wesson, i have a .22 that is a great substitute for practicing, since it has the same weight and feel of my 6" .357) i bought these from Midway USA, which is one of the best online and catalog resources for shooters and reloaders. they even carry a ton of gunsmithing products, which i've tapped into from time to time.
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most ex-military guys will find the following true at home. no matter what room you go into in my house, there will be some reminder of my time in the military, even if it's some trinket i picked up overseas stashed away in the drawer in that room. my reloading bench is no different. this is a belt buckle i bought and wore during the 70's. i broke the clip off the back, so now it's just another piece of memorabilia laying around.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

intellectual honesty in politics

there is a columnist for the sacramento bee that i really like. he doesn't seem to have too big an ax to grind either way. usually his columns are the rare breath of non-partisan reporting in the paper.
here are a couple of paragraphs from today's column, quoted so you don't have to do the registration thing.

he talks about a subject that's been on my mind lately, and has been in a lot of the blogs i've seen in the last couple of days.

Because political campaigns are single-purpose endeavors - the goal is to win, period - one does not expect to find nuanced arguments in political communications. It falls to the political media, therefore, to enforce a reasonable level of intellectual honesty.

Increasingly, for example, newspapers are dissecting political commercials and not only reporting on the truth or falsity of their assertions, but placing them in context, indirectly compelling political campaigns to back up their TV claims with hard fact.

It's more difficult to enforce intellectual honesty, or even consistency, in the broader array of political speech because it exists in the realm of the immediate. Politicians and their advisers want to score points on one thing on one day; they talk about "message discipline" and "winning the day" and measure their progress in overnight "tracking polls."

An example of that syndrome was the conflict-of-the-moment in Washington - settled on Monday - about whether the majority Republicans would modify or eliminate the filibuster that Democrats have employed to block confirmation of several of President Bush's judicial appointees.

Liberal politicians, advocacy groups and editorial writers who now portray the filibuster as a cherished bulwark for minority rights used to decry it as anti-democratic obstructionism when Southern segregationists used it to thwart civil rights laws. By the same token, born-again Republican champions of majority rule used to see the filibuster's indirect requirement for a 60-vote margin as their leverage.

That was then, this is now.


you can read the whole article here with a free registration. he goes on to lambast the governator for some of his latest policies. (truth in blogging at work)

a quick pop in

to say howdy and welcome aboard the bubbleblogger brotherhood to xopher. go visit and say howdy.

Monday, May 23, 2005

wonder if bill has a prescription

here's a twist. imagine you are a sex offender, a dangerous, predatory sex offender. and you find you can't "get it up" anymore. what do you do? why, go on taxpayer funded medicaid, and have the good citizens pay for a viagra prescription. for once, i actually agree with hillary. now i have to go wash my mouth out and wash my hands, several times after typing that.

monday morning musing

here it is 3 1/2 hours into my work day, and i can already tell that the fuck up fairy has me at the top of her weekly "to-do" list. anyone else having one of "those" weeks? wish i was still in bed, snoozing.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

damn, i missed something

i took this test a while ago, and can't remember the score (blush, i forgot something.)
so i took it again and
I am nerdier than 99% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


guess it's a good thing i work at a research center, huh?

thanks to PigBoatSailor for the link. and he has a picture i'm going to steal over here

Thursday, May 19, 2005

bbq pork tenderloin

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i love to cook. and my favorite place to cook is on the grill. nothing brings out the caveman like a big piece of meat sizzling over the fire.

Ingredients
  • pork tenderloin, or really, any damned cut of pork you like

  • old bay seasoning

  • bbq sauce


rub the pork with the old bay seasoning so that it's not completely covered, but enough to really flavor the pork. cover and toss in the fridge while making the bbq sauce.

bbq sauce: 1 bottle of your favorite, or use my handy dandy super secret i've never told anyone this recipe before bbq sauce
ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce, or you can cheat and use catsup. either works. i like tomato sauce, and my kids like the catsup version

  • liquid smoke, just a little, like 1/4 tsp or so, adjust to taste when on the stove

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, or lite brown with a tbs of molasses

  • 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp onion salt, or onion powder and garlic salt

  • 3 tbs dark brown mustard, or any dijon style works too

  • a couple of very healthy glugs of russian salad dressing, adjust to taste. (0psst..yeah you. this is the secret part. the rest is really just a regular old bbq sauce that you can find in any good cookbook. i don't know what it is about the russian salad dressing, but it is perfect in this sauce. i use a ton of it, and then adjust up to taste)

  • tabasco sauce or other pepper sauce to taste

  • 1 tbs cider vinegar


dump it all in a pot and bring to a low boil. turn down the heat, and let simmer for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors. taste and adjust until it is just right for you. if the vinegar makes it a little too tart, sweeten with a bit of honey until it speaks to you .

in a pyrex or other dish big enough to hold the meat, pour about 1/2 the sauce over the meat, coating it well. let it sit like that while firing up the bbq.

i use a weber charcoal grill, and this is a perfect piece of meat to cook indirectly.
get the coals fired up, and divide between the two sides. put the meat on the grill between the coals, and cover.

turn the meat every 15 to 20 minutes, and baste with the remaining sauce. continue until the internal temperature is around 160 or so. turn the meat often enough so that the sauce doesn't burn on the bottom sides near the coals. it took around an hour on the grill, with a windy day and intermittent rain showers keeping the outside temps down. on warmer less windy days, the cooking time would be less. let the meat stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing thinly and pigging out.

edit 5/29: guess it would help if i proofread my posts. originally i stated 1 tbs of onion and garlic. sorry. that should have been teaspoon, not tablespoon.

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

the aliens have landed- cat blog friday

ever wanted proof that cats really are alien creatures inhabiting earthly meat? here's a visitor courting one of the girls.
tell me those aren't aliens.
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show me one time that this worked, just one

and i'll shut up about this. over and over again, we have had the very people we opened our wallets and hearts to spit in our face. why do they think this time would be any different than in the past. all it's done is take monies desperately needed to bolster my retirement account and squandered them into someone else's retirement account, and palaces, and bentleys and....
The US could improve its image among Muslims if it listened more, adopted a humbler tone and emphasised its aid programmes, a report says.

ah yes, the old lakerizer in a shoe trick

this cracks me up more than i can say. i'll let you read the article, with only one quote:
"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.

a new member of the bubbleblogger brotherhood

howdy to PigBoatSailor over at discomfortofthought. he's been banging around the blogosphere for a while and decided to post his own blog.
he keeps writing things like this, but as comments that you have to go looking for. i'm glad he's posting them to his own blog for easier access. bothenook sez "checkitout"...

thanks to joel over at the stupid shall be punished for the tip. joel is the point man for this project it seems, since his blog attracts bubbleheads like a streetlight attracts junebugs

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

i'm saying it again

you have to go visit frank at varifrank. the caliber of his posts make mine look pretty damned wimpy in comparison. that's why i love the blogosphere. his take on the whole desecration issue is right on, as is his post about bolton and the un. hell, just go over there and read it all. it's all good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

an amazing website

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this is from postsecret. when we had our open house, one of our guests, lisa, told me about this site, and specifically this card. the site has people send in anonymous postcards with secrets they've never told anyone else. i recommend a tour of the site, but be prepared for some real bummer stuff. as well as some really voyeuristic scoop.

cha-cha-cha-changes

that damned george bush. he took our country into a war nobody wanted, killed tons of innocent iraqis, and...

yup, that is the kind of blather you read or hear all over the info highway. on and on, it's never ending. and yet, the images of iraqis voting seems to have had no long term affect on the spew. and now, kuwaiti women are voting and being allowed to run for office. the changes are almost breathtaking in that part of the world. hey gw, way to go man.

flushed

another one of those damned quizes

i blame this one on ali. yeah, it's your fault i waste my time. i cannot accept any of the blame. i'm just monkey see monkey do, following along in momma duck's footsteps. it's all her fault




You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.

Existentialist

88%

Postmodernist

75%

Materialist

75%

Modernist

69%

Idealist

56%

Cultural Creative

50%

Romanticist

50%

Fundamentalist

25%

What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com

a damned good read on the newsweek flap

i direct your attention to a post by gus that does an excellent job parsing the debacle over at newsweek. far better analysis than my own, i'm linking it for those that don't visit him on a regular basis. and if you don't, shame on you. that be one smart cookie, eh?

a couple of others are the daily demarche and a very excellent post by new sisyphus

edit: and finally, a well written article from Insight Magazine

Monday, May 16, 2005

today's funny from bill

header: kitchen accessories for the ladies

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or alternately:
"Amazing new stress relievers from the PMS store!"

Sunday, May 15, 2005

i'm almost speechless

ok, so that might be an exaggeration. anyone that knows me knows i'm RARELY speechless, regardless of topic, or my knowledge of same.

but here, in the s.f. chronicle is an article, by a chronicle bureau chief, decrying the MSM, and it's reliance on stirring the pot for readership and audience.

the news analysis by Marc Sandalow (google him for some interesting reading. he is NOT a closet conservative hiding out in washington d.c., far from the control of his paper in san francisco) shows what those of us on the "right side" of most issues have been decrying for years. the media will use whatever means they can to spin the news in the most unfavorable, and most unflattering yet compelling means possible to further their agenda. it's not all about audience, although the point of "man bites dog" is well made in this article. it's about taking the news and skewing it so out of shape that one would be hard pressed to recognize the facts even if you were part of the event. skewing and twisting, using inflammatory language as a means of furthering a political or social agenda. THAT is what the MSM has become. they no longer "report the facts". they report events with a heavy emphasis on belittling the opposition, frightening their audience as a means of furthering their agenda, or outright lying and making things up to prove their point.
just this last week, one of the columnists in the Sacramento Bee was shitcanned because the editors finally figured out the "human interest stories" this columnist wrote were about people in her imagination. she wanted to effect change, and made stories up and people up to bolster her view of the world.
to paraphrase an old television character "just give me the facts".

a bit of shakespearian drama unfolding

in bethlehem. a real romeo and Juliet story, with a middle eastern flavor.
a 23 year old muslim dude sees and falls in love with a 16 year old christian girl. he gets her cell phone number, and a romance via the phone ensues. they decide to run away. (as an aside, i included one capitalization for chappie, gus, and joel. enjoy, and share amongst yourselves)
this would almost be a comedic farce if it weren't indicative of the strife and tensions in that area. one of the comments in the article states had this been a christian boy and a muslim girl, she would have been killed by her family for dishonoring them. and the boy would most likely be killed.
the root of the issue stems around the "unavailability" of muslim girls for these young men to woo, date, and marry. the controls surrounding this "property" would make the security chief at fort knox nod his head in admiration.
what really gets me is the president of palestine, and emissaries from the vatican had to intercede to quell the major unrest this event caused. unbelievable.
of course, this the same region where 15 people are killed during protests because of an alleged flushing of a couple pages from the koran in gitmo by interrogators.
i can actually see parallels here to the u.s.. how many folks get their ire up enough to start fights over burning a flag?
so willyshakes, here we have a modern example of just how tuned in your hero was to the human condition. i just hope this doesn't end up with a vial of poison and a dagger.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

my first compressed air dive



Hanauma Bay Hawaii.

My first trip to periscope depth without a submarine.
I was in pearl harbor for machinist mate “C” school on ford island during the summer of ’77. one of the problems I had during this summer was the dude that was supposed to take care of our pay while the boat was out to sea (yeah, you Hop!) went on leave without turning over to anyone at the detachment. That meant I didn't have a paycheck for weeks and weeks. i was so broke, i had to pretend to be snorkeling off the back steps to the barracks on ford island, because i could couldn't scrounge up the 25 cents to ride THE BUS to waimea bay.
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or i would just hang out in the barracks room, daydreaming about all of the heinous things i was going to do to the yeoman when i finally got back to the mainland
i posted this one before

so i ran. and i worked out in the cheesy gym out in one of the leftover aircraft hangers from WWII. bobby and i ran an average of 7 miles a day, at least 5 days a week, and we spent at least 2 hours a day lifting weights. it's amazing what great shape you can get in when you don't have any money, and you are on a military base.
. i ended up GAINING weight, even eating at the base galley. i volunteered for a medical study some doc was doing, and my body fat was at 4%, at 180 pounds. i gained 5 pounds just from running. my classmate bobby went from a little pudge to a little less of a pudge. he had money, and didn't mind spending it on LOTS of beer, so he didn't quite get the same results. one good thing about bobby was that he didn't mind lending me a couple of bucks now and then so i could go to the beach and snorkel. i spent almost all of my free time either working out or exploring the depths.

and then i saw a flier for scuba classes being given by a civilian school, on sub base. it looked like a blast, but i was BROKE.

So what’s a very broke submarine sailor to do when in Hawaii? You borrow $65.00 from a couple of guys in the class, and sign up for dive classes, that's what you do. I took classes on subbase from a dive school run by a retired marine EOD diver by the name of Kirwan. He said he loved teaching the class on subbase because the bubbleheads were all a bunch of squishy soft marshmallows, and it was his duty to see that they got at least some exercise before going back out to sea. he had a rough group of assistant instructors (AIs). they were all either active duty EOD marines, or navy divers, with one or two exceptions. so they took great glee in trying to kick our asses into shape. we got a lot more physical than the classes out in town did. we even played sharks and minnows, where the AIs harass you and do everything but actually drown you. it was a blast. and all the "lose the mask and tank" drills we did actually paid off a couple of years later on a dive, but that is for another story.

so we do all of our pool work and class work. time to go diving! since we had about 60 guys in the class, they split us up into 4 groups. we would cycle through each of the 4 dive locations over a couple of weekends. what was really great was they folded in the civilian classes with ours during the dives. our first dive was hanauma bay.

if you look at the first picture, you can see that the beach is way the hell down there. and you walk down from the parking lot. so we had to lug our dive gear, grub, and a couple of tanks each down to the beach. straight out from the beach is a reef which protects the beach from any big waves, and makes it an easy swim for those interested in snorkeling amongst the fish. just out past the reef, the depth drops to 60 feet. to the right, the shoreline continues on to diamond head. to the left, it sweeps around to the toilet bowl, so named for the dramatic water movement in a cleft of the lava.
so in we went. we swam out past the reef into the depths. we stopped and explored along the way, and got used to breathing compressed air under a lot more water than during practice in the pool. pretty soon, they had us sitting on the bottom, taking off our gear and putting it back on again. this is when i finally made it to snorkel depth without a submarine around me. well, 60 feet is pretty close to snorkel depth. close enough for me!
after a while, pairs started making their ascents. we were down there for as long as it took to suck the tank dry. that way, we got to experience boyle's law first hand by ascending 30 feet, and finding we still had air to breath. you can teach it all day long in a class room, but it will never have the same effect as actually hearing the regulator squawl and then smooth out as you rise.
bobby and i were the last two down. we were probably in better shape than any of the students out with us that day, since we spent so much time snorkeling at
sharks cove (picture stolen from peterworld.com)


three tables (picture stolen from shorediving.com)
or
waimea bay.

we did our four dive trips to these four places too, which was pretty cool. the lava tubes at sharks cove were especially cool. i've been back in the last decade or so, and the quality of the diving experience really sucks. the beaches and reefs are so overused that they are all but wastelands now. when we dove them, the sealife was simply splendid, the varieties and colors made you feel like you were diving in a tropical aquarium at some huge museum. not any more. too bad.

anyway, i found that the years of snorkeling and diving on a hookah (hoses on a float to the surface) were just the tip of the iceberg. i loved diving, and spent every available dollar i had, and minute remaining on the islands to go diving. i took a bunch of extra classes, and certified the following:
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i don't know if you can see the picture on the back of the PADI card, but i was a damned swashbuckling sailor, let me tell you!! i also took underwater first aid, night navigation, and did as many cave and lava tube dives as i could line up.
i've been diving just about everywhere i've traveled. i've been to the bottom of truk lagoon, and i've dived the wall in the caymans. i've chased octopi under the tacoma narrows bridge (they get BIG there), and chased moray eels on the northern coast of california. probably the coolest thing i've seen was the nautilus migration to the surface to spawn while diving on guam. usually they don't come anywhere near the surface. that day, there were literally thousands upon thousands of them, floating up and swimming from the depths. a most memorable dive.

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cat blog friday (D-1)

i know, it's not friday. but if kitties are going to be seen, it's today or never, so:

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sheba's still working on her universal camouflage. garden, couch, patio, now deck. hey sheba, the deck is not a good hideout.
notice the cat is always sleeping in the pictures? this is about all i ever see of her. snoozing. i guess if i was the equivalent age to her 16 years, i'd probably be snoozing all the time too.

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spooky-kat practicing her stalking skills on the lens cover of my camera. just after i clicked the picture, she swatted the cover. guess i should have known a disk dangling off of a string would be too enticing to ignore.

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the mighty feline hunter emerges from the jungle, ready to pounce on any unwary feet she sees.

great ride to work this morning

i have a honda shadow motorcycle i bought 11 or 12 years ago for commuting down into the heart of the east bay area in hayward. i've been riding bikes since my 16th birthday, the day i got my license. i didn't own a car until i was into my 20s.
i've become spoiled driving in cars. i forgot that no matter whether the date is may 11 or not, 45 degrees outside is still 45 degrees. i decided to wear my "summer gloves" and was it chilly on the pinkies.
the ride was glorious though, so i can't really bitch. the sky was crystal clear, and i rode into the sunrise. if you aren't a motorcycle rider, i can't really describe the feeling. cranking down the freeway at 75, wind whistling through my helmet, no radio, no cell phone, just me and my thoughts, and a road full of idiots to avoid.
i love riding, and since i only live 45 miles from work now that we've moved from the napa valley to vacaville, there will be more of these in the near future.
the day is looking to be a splendid example of a northern california spring day, so i may just have to take the long way home up around lake berryessa. nothing like a long series of twisties and turnies taken at excessive speeds regardless of the 15 mph speed postings to get the blood flowing.

fame is fleeting

wow. i have been busy like crazy this last week, and haven't had much time to blog. i did notice that for a brief, so brief period of time this last week that i actually made it to a flappy bird. didn't last long. now i'm back to my lowly slithering reptile rung in the N.Z. ecosystem. that's ok, i know that if i work hard, struggle with the occasional writers block, and post recipes and cat pictures, i'll once again break through the the next level. of course, that's the only way, because i've found my "profound utterances" to be something less than profound, and are merely hulls lost amongst the chaff of the blogosphere.

edit 5/13/05: i've taken allan's advice, and killed the ecosystem because of the load time lag it puts on my page.

as a side note, thanks for the links. you'se guys, you'se the best!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

one of my old time heros has died

David Hackworth, soldier, author, journalist, and lately an embarrassment, has died. he seemed so vital that it's hard to believe he was so sick. i have been a hack fan for many years, reading everything in print by the guy i could get my hands on. i was one of the original subscribers to soldiers for truth, when it was HIS newsletter, and not one fronted by him. the last couple of years have been a real dissappointment to me, because he looked like he was joining the ranks of moonbats that flit and shit all over the military. i know his heart was always with the line dogs, but his agenda, and that of the folks he gathered around himself...well, i have to say i've had some serious reservations about praising the dude lately. that does not in any way lessen the the almost reverential hero worship i've had towards him for the last 20-25 years. i'm sad he is gone. we all pass through this life with a death sentence, but somehow i figured he had a couple more years to live.

skippy-san has a good post here. thanks for letting me know skip. i guess i'll have to turn on the idiot box and find out what's what.

here's a great post by blackfive

an archive of his latest columns for the world net daily.

post this under "needs a sense of humor"

i thought the whole louie louie controversy was settled something like 30 years ago. apparently not everywhere.
someone needs either a sense of humor transplant, or a life. or both.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

why i love the nuclear regulatory commission

or how i learned that just because someone is a pain in the ass, it's not always a bad thing.

i have worked in the world of nuclear for my entire adult life, except for a short 1 year stint as a production manager for a small manufacturing company in the mid 90's. so i've had to live with the nuclear regulatory agency, the dept. of energy, the navy's Naval Reactors gestapo, the air force's nuclear surity group, all organizations designed to keep nuclear facilities on the straight and narrow.
there have been times when i railed against the seemingly arbitrary rulings, the constraints that no thinking, experienced operator or tech would take as "helpful". generally, these organizations make our job harder, less efficeint, more complex, and just all around more difficult.
having said that, i'd like to point out that in the entire history or u.s. nuclear operations, only two major accidents have occured. one was an army training facility SL1, and the other 3 mile island.
on a decending scale of severity, our WORST accident doesn't even break the top 10 according to one of the papers i've reviewed in the last couple of weeks. the number THREE worst nuclear accident was chernobyl. that's right, number 3. number 2 is Mayak. imagine, this facility has contaminated such a large area, and affected so many people, that is ranks above chyrnobl in nuclear accidents. one of these days i'll talk about the number 1 nuclear accident, also in the old soviet union, but i'll save that for another day.
Mayak utilized the natural resources available to perform the tasks given. among those tasks was fuel recovery from spent fuel assemblies, and radionuclide seperation and processing.
in the united states, the number of people who've received a lifetime dose of over 50 REM (it's just a number that i won't get into a detailed description of) is pretty low. i don't have specific numbers, but an educated guess would be less than a thousand, total, from the beginning of nuclear power and nuclear processing to now. suffice to say, a 50 rem dose in a short period of time would show minor blood changes in the recipient, with few if any long term affects that we know of. of course, there is always the chance of various cancers being triggered by the dose, but we don't have a "minimum" dose required to cause these problems. we know that there is always a potential for even the slightest dose to cause problems, since there is no "threshold". but for the most part, nuclear workers in this country are the healthiest workers in any industry, mainly because the requirements for physicals and a heavy emphasis on health helps keep us that way.
now imagine you are living downstream of the facility i mentioned above. the river that flows through the area has spread contamination to a huge region. the civilians, not the workers, the residents downstream have all received higher doses just from living next to the river than any nuclear worker in the u.s. has. we are talking doses so high that if i were to receive the equivalent, i would not be allowed to work in a nuke facility ever again. ever. and this is just the residents.
so when i snivel about the nrc, or regulators in general, just ignore it. my sniveling is reflexive. in truth, i'm glad they are such a pain in the keister.

note: the link to the mayak site is also one of the great "anti-nuclear" sites around. but the difference with bellona is, they actually do the science, they analyze, they report. they don't preach, and they also utilize common sense. hey, without organizations like them, the requirements would be less stringent. i can do without the mindless natterings of greenpeace or the abalone allience, but i respect the work and works done by bellona. these folks have a serious and real problem, and are trying to do something about it. they literally have their lives staked to the outcomes and fixes to many of the problems they report on, as opposed to the cause d'jour celebrity and airhead groups in this country.

they keep falling

seems there is some good news in the middle east to counter the bad.

saddam's nephew, number 36 in the deck of bad guys, and the libyan head of al-qaeda, reportedly the #3 guy in the organization have both been captured. very cool. they keep chipping away, and eventually we will either have taken out their command structure, or finally catch the kahuna himself.

if you notice i've quoted 4 bbc articles in a row. it's not because i've finally taken refuge in the dark side. it's just easy to pick off info using firefox's "latest headlines" link.

me, no, i'm not lazy. it's just that the link is the first news trail i follow. the first, but certainly not the only.


and one last one from the bbc. this guy has more balls than smarts. imagine asking the woman he had raped to marry him. he thought it would help reduce his sentence. WTF? look, i don't know how these things work in india, but in my household in california, with either of the two women i've married in my life, had i pulled a stunt like that... well, let's just say that i would never ever be able to sleep in the same county. something about very sharp objects, removing valuable body parts during the night. hell, maybe that woman should marry this cretin, and then kill the bastard in his sleep. i'm sure she would not be convicted, claiming temporary insanity brought on by flashbacks of her rape.