Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Week that Was


A week that started with excitement and the early Fall foliage on the East Coast, with its vibrant orange and red hues mixed with quickly fading green ones, ended somewhat sadly with similar colors in a sunset on the West Coast.

The excitement came from a trip I alluded to a during my post from a couple weeks ago, a work trip to Newport Rhode Island and perchance a visit with the management on his home turf.

And this was the turf upon which that visit did occur- the beach out in front of the Atlantic Beach Club Restaurant.  Yes, you've seen this pic before, along with this one:

Sarge covered that meet-up very well so I won't go into it too much further, other than to say that the company was only exceeded in quality by the outstanding food.  There was so much goodness on the menu that I had a tough time choosing.  The meal had some delicious bookends which I picked out early- Sam Adams Octoberfest and some Key Lime Cheesecake, but I struggled with the entree'.  Actually, I knew what I wanted- lobster- it's plentiful in Rhode Island and tough to get out on the left coast.  However, the menu had several choices which I was narrowing down, at least until the waitress had to distract me with the announcement that it was Wednesday and therefore, "Menu Madness" was in effect- when every meal is half off.  I love lobster, but I also like a good deal, so the promotion was a pleasant surprise.  The restaurant is very nice, as many waterfront locales are, and none too inexpensive.  I soon found out however that "every meal" had one notable exception- any lobster dinner.  I was on per diem though, and had no intention of trying to save that money so the Lobster Thermidor was my pick.  And a good pick it was.  Sarge had to roll me out of the place after we finished, but it was a great visit nevertheless.

I was in town for a conference at the Naval War College, which is up on the hill behind the building in the background of the second selfie on today's post.  Hmm, I wonder if that's a first here on Chant du Depart.  I was there with an active duty CDR from my command and he took a photo for me, but it just didn't meet the fine standards we've set here on the Chant.   

It was a good few days as far as conferences go and we developed a decent plan to solve all manner of world crises, including how to deter Chinese aggression, reunite North and South Korea in friendship and brotherly love, and create peace in the Middle East.  I'll share our plan once it makes it through the censors, Public Affairs, Congress, and the Defense Industrial Complex.   

As we drove over the Claiborne Pell Bridge, aka the Newport Bridge on our way out of town, I looked back and saw how grand the Naval War College looks along the Narragansett Bay.

The return flight was uneventful, except for the time spent outside the terminal awaiting my lovely wife.  I was hiding in the shade as I'm wont to do to keep my dermatologist happy.  I spied two Lieutenants from my command who had just returned from an exercise in Korea.  They're probably on their first shore tour, veterans of one or two Gulf deployments, young, intelligent 20-somethings with a college education and the trust placed in them by our Nation in the form of a commission in the US Navy.   What I saw them do immediately after they left baggage claim made me shake my head.  They couldn't wait to pull out a pack of cigarettes and light up.  As both Sarge and I have shared here before, my mom passed away from Lung Cancer at 62, 15 years after quitting smoking.  Therefore I'm no big fan of the habit, and just can't comprehend why a young person, knowing just how addictive it is, knowing the damage it can and will do to ones body, would even consider picking up a cigarette.  I wanted to knock the cigarettes out of their hands and shake some sense into them, but for some reason I didn't.  The stupidity astounds me.

Speaking of our youth, part of this past weekend was spent watching the teenangster participate in Street Survival - a course designed to teach kids how to handle their car in unpredictable situations, make good decisions, and avoid problems before they happen.  The video below is my daughter in action.  This was during the "texting while driving" scenario, where they were shown how taking their eyes off the road even for a second can result in a dangerous situation.  Also per one of the instructors orders, I sent her a text right in the middle of the course.   

This is the local news story about the day.

During the classroom portion, the parents were allowed to hit the course as well.  My favorite was the skidpad portion, which had us drive fast in a circle, with one added element- a water truck had laid down a bunch of water just before the session.  As Sarge can probably attest, the VW Beetle, with its short wheel base, handles itself pretty well, and only slipped out when the instructor pulled the hand brake.  All in all, a fun and valuable session.

If you know someone who might benefit from the training, these courses are held all over the country at different times throughout the year.  Click here if you're interested.  

The reason I was at the beach was for a memorial service marking the one year anniversary of the death of a dear family friend- the older brother of my Godson and the son of a college classmate and brother in arms.  It was a nice memorial service and I'm sure it helped his mom and dad.  He was only 12 years old when he died so it was an especially tough year for his family.

It was very well attended, over 120 people on my count before I lost track.  They have a lot of friends and no one wanted them to be alone on that day.  

La Jolla Shores at sunset was the setting for the service.  It was a little sad of course, as it should be whenever we're thinking about a child dying, but it was such a beautiful sunset that it made up for it at least a little bit.

So that was my week.  I'm sure this next one will be just as eventful, but hopefully it will trend a little more towards the positive.

 If you feel so inclined, say a prayer for the Wright Family of San Diego.


  1. One of the things I loved best about being a Deputy was EVOC ( Emergency Vehicle Operators Course ) training. Particularly Pursuit Driving Techniques. Driving at high speed, with lights and siren, at night, ( 3rd shift deputy, so my training was at dusk and after, as those would be my operating conditions ), with instructors doing things like having someone run out of the bushes along the course, towards the road, as you approached, so you would have to avoid them, too, really gets you to pay attenton to what is around you, and not fixate on what is ahead of you.

    I bet your daughter enoyed the course, and learned something. Texting while driving is a pet peeve of mine. I was once going to a traffic accident , with casualties, and was approaching an intersection, siren on yelp, lightbar, mirror lights, headlight strobes, and the lights on the deer smucker all blazing, and giving a GRONK on the air horn. A white Suburban pulled out into the intersection, it's driver a youg woman, who was texting. Thank God that Police versions of the Tahoe have excellent anti lock brakes.

    ( a deer smucker is the very heavy duty push bumper/grille guard that sheriffs squads in Wisconsin have, as we have a huge population of white tail deer, that love to leap out of the ditches, screaming BANZAI. )

    1. This is basically what a deer smucker looks like, before lights and siren speaker are added. http://www.carid.com/ranch-hand/bumper-guard-cushion-mpn-rupu.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw1_KwBRDEz_WvncL4jGwSJAAEym0dGgub9EdpTsiprzIdBvyO8Y57MBvAXE-dsjeeoI0nfRoCzCfw_wcB

    2. What is it about deer that makes them so suicidal? They jump out from the side of the road and pull lead! Deer collisions are so common here, that USAA doesn't even require a notification call, just take the vehicle to one of their approved body shops and it's all taken care of.

    3. My first thoughts were of EVOC training too, and watching my buddy Speedbrake turn a 74 Dodge crackerbox over on his first go. Speaking of bulletproof utes who should be more frequently shaken.

    4. Try antelope. They cross in trail and you never see the one that gets you.

    5. Deer, too. If one runs across the road in front of you, there are two or three more right behind the first one

  2. Great post Tuna.

    The presence of two selfies in one post is indeed a first here at The Chant. You are such a trend-setter.

    I do remember you mentioning the Wright's loss last year. They will be in my prayers.

  3. Excellent post, Tuna. I also will keep them in my prayers.


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