Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Finally...

What's a museum visit without a Corsair?

So I spend all week going up and down ladder wells, then spend hours sitting in front of a console in CIC¹, so what do I do on my day off? Climb around this venerable ship -


There are more pictures than this, many of which feature my finger occluding part of the lens, but I will cover that later, when I head back East. (And have more sleep accumulated!)

I've been to Sandy Eggo many times, this was my first time on the USS Midway (CV 41). Won't be the last.

A whale of a tale. (I'll leave that to Cap'n Andy.)

Paddles seems somewhat two-dimensional...

Tuna was right, she's in rough shape. (The Mighty War Hoover.)

But this old girl is in fine fettle.
(Looks like Murphy might have popped the canopy open. No, I didn't tell him how.)

An odd vantage point!

Loves me some Spad!

One of LUSH's old rides.

An excellent memorial to the men of Taffy 3.
Heroes all...

More to come, but I need to score some rack time...




¹ Combat Information Center, not what it's called on this class, but many still call it that.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Dear New Texan

 

Dear New Texan,

Howdy! Welcome to your new home.  We're glad you're here mostly. I thought I might provide a bit of information that will help you as you start learning the mores to get along with your new friends and neighbors.

I realize that many of you fled left your previous locale because of "reasons".  Maybe financial, maybe new job, maybe the state/local government went (to use a term used by a friend of mine) "Copulating Bonkers".  

All good reasons to have set out for a better place.  One of the first changes I'd advise is to avoid sentences that start with "When I lived in NewYawkafornia, we did xxx this way...".  The person on the receiving end of that, even if they don't verbalize it, is thinking "Then why didn't you stay there".  Alternately, and less charitable, the thought is "Go Back!".

We had a letter to the editor a while back, from an ex-NewYawkafornian decrying the deer carcasses lying by the side of the road.  It mentioned "Back in (Very large town in NewYawkafornia), we had City employees who's job was to pick them up and dispose of them." The letter went on for a few more paragraphs with more suggestions on how to improve things here.

The following week (it's a weekly paper), the Letters to the Editor page was very full of responses.  My personal favorite was "Mrs X, Here in Texas, the Lord has provided a solution to the problem of dead animals on the road.  They're called Birds of Prey and they're very good at getting rid of them.  If an animal is obstructing traffic, please call Law Enforcement, they will move it out of the roadway, where the clean up crew can enjoy a quiet meal in a safe location."

Mexican Caracara feasting on some tasty Road Kill. Got lots of them around here, beautiful birds in flight.
Source

One more lesson to glean from that letter. Don't include your actual name with it.  It's a small town, people know you.  It tends to be hard to live some things down.

Another area of "it's different here",  Driving.  Texas Department of Transportation used to have signs that read "Drive Friendly".  That's good advice.  Here's some tips on how to do so.

 I know you left NewYawkafornia because you spent at least 2 hours a day in traffic, and you haven't driven at the speed limit in years, if ever.  However, once you get out of Texas' 5 huge MSA's (Houston, San Antonio, Austin, DFW and El Paso), you'll find that people pretty much stay at the speed limit plus or minus about 5MPH.  If you're uncomfortable with that, stay in the MSA's, you'll feel right at home. Nutballs driving 90 weaving in and out of lanes.  Minutes later every brake light in front of you comes on at the same instant.  An hour later and one mile further down the road, you'll see the nutball's car either smashed to pieces along with several more, or, more charitably, pulled to the side with a car with flashing lights behind him.  Just like in your old home town.

(Please Lord, put me on that jury!)

But, if the sky is clear, the road is dry and traffic is moving smoothly, drive the speed limit (which from here out means the posted speed limit or the speed of traffic whichever is slower).  If you're not on an Interstate or otherwise controlled access freeway, you should still be driving at the speed limit   

Yes,  That means 70 on most of the Interstates in the Eastern Part of the state, 75 in the middle part and 80 out west.  Weather conditions, of course, modify that, as in "Slow the heck down". But if it's clear and a million and the road is dry...

If you're on a two lane highway and you look in your mirror and see a long line of cars behind you, glance at your speedometer, if it doesn't at least match the speed limit, you're not driving friendly.  Two things you can do to remedy that.  First, accelerate to the speed limit.  Second, Texas Highways usually have a large shoulder.  Look up ahead and if the shoulder is clear, pull over and drive on that.  Let the folks behind pass, then pull back on and go about your merry way.  If the passer's by are True Texans, they'll wave or hit their flashers a couple of times as a way of saying thank you.

If, however,  you're one of those people who's greatest thrill in life was being "Line Leader" in 3rd grade and get your jollies by making people do what you want them to do....Well, suffice it to say, you're not being Texan if you drive 50 or so on a two lane highway in no-passing zones, then somehow find yourself doing 80 in a passing zone, then 50 again because "it's no passing, it must be dangerous, and anyhow I AM the line leader!".  Line Leader or not, the people behind you are saying some pretty nasty things about you and your parents. And when they do pass, they are quite likely to wave at you, albeit with only one finger showing.

Virtually every Texas Highway has a particular sign on it.  Apparently the version of English used on it is different than in NewYawkafornia because it is frequently misunderstood. That sign looks like this.


That sign means "Left lane for passing only." The "Even You" part was left off to save money and because normal people can read and understand. But, for clarity, unless the vehicles to your front right have apparent motion towards your back right, you should not be in the left lane.  If you are, and they are moving in the opposite direction, from back right to front right, you might just get that single fingered wave I talked about earlier.  If this happens repeatedly and in rapid succession, the odds of the latter happening go up significantly.

I don't know where this is, but I love it.
Source

Oh, one last thing, put your copulating cell phone away.  You are not fooling anyone by having it in your lap and texting from it.  There are a couple of "tells". First is your head.  It bobs up and down like one of those toy ducks. 

Source
Second, and most disturbing, you're weaving across lanes of traffic.  Just say No!

I lied, one more "Last Thing", get Texas plates! You're a resident of Texas now, no longer a NewYawkafornian, and your expired NewYawkafornia plates don't impress anyone, including the friendly officer behind you with his lights flashing. 

A few, minor and easy, behavioral changes will make your transition much more pleasant.

Once again, welcome to Texas, Howdy! And...

Peace out, Y'all!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Copulate My Existence

 Warning - Warning - Warning

Obscure variations of existing deathly swear words and phrases used in the following post.  May cause permanent injury to one's brain or drive one to drink if one understands said obscure variations.  Read at your own risk. 
     The Chants' Psychological Damage Department


So. There I was, working on breakfast at the usual Beans' Household Breakfast Time (somewheres around 4AM, that would be 0400 EST or 0000 GMT for you, juvat) and I smelled something not quite right and heard sounds not quite right coming from under the kitchen sink.  

With great loathing, knowing what sort of eldritch and lovecraftian things may exist under kitchen sinks, having experienced exploding oven cleaners (thanks, Mom,) raccoon attacks (thanks, hippy neighbors,) random roach explosions (thanks, crappy roommates,) rotting piles of coffee remains and cigarettes (thanks, in-laws who 'came for two weeks' and never left until the main AC died during a heatwave - real story, really, I did not win in the In-Law lottery) and other wonderful experiences, I, with great dread, opened... the under-sink cabinet doors.

And, to my utter disgust and horror, there, waiting for me, was a fetid swamp of grey water, complete with 'things' floating in it, accompanied by that peculiar smell of 'water trapped in cabinets under kitchen sinks.' (If you've ever had a leak under the kitchen sink, from either said kitchen sink or maybe the hose to the dishwasher or even rainwater intrusion, it is a particular smell, not like 'leak under bathroom sink' smell, that just says 'dangerous swampy fetid sour polluted waters lay ahead.) It's one of those smells that even when it clears up you can still smell it, it won't go away.  Agent Smith would put it as one of the top 10 smells that makes him hate the Matrix.

Like this, but darker, under the sink, in my apartment.
No trees though.
But still, the smell


That smell.

Bleh.

Okay, looking closely, pipes are all connected.  Must be an issue with the seal between the sink and the countertop.

Runs water.

Nope.  Leaking from the pipe.

Okay, time to do some serious work now.

One roll of paper towels later, and mopping the interior of the cabinet with heavy bleach water, I collect my potential tools:  pad for the knees (because I'm old, and fat, and down and hard surface hurts.  Come to think of it, it hurt when I was young, too,) flashlight (one of those that came in a pack of Black & Decker cordless tools.  Really nice in that the light portion tilts and the battery pack is flat so you can set the darned thing and point the light where you need it, hopefully not to be occluded by one's hands or head or both,) and a large bowl to place under the P-trap thingy (for to catch the water leaking, juvat.  OAFS would know, because he was smart and enlisted...)

Turn the water on, hmmm, water everywhere.  Shut off water.  Check lowest twisty pipe clamp thingy. Loose as all heck.  Tighten.  Turn water on, water everywhere, shut off water.  Check next highest twisty pipe clampy thingy.  Loose as all heck.  Tighten.  Get a clue. Check ALL remaining twisty pipe clampy thingies. Yep, all loose as heck.  Tighten all. 

(curse, grumble, curse curse)

Turn the water on, hmmm, water everywhere, still.  SHUT WATER OFF, CURSING LIKE A SAILOR (quietly, under breathe, as loud cursing makes Mrs. Andrew's head hurt.) Shake the whole P-trap thingy and why in the copulation is it so copulating loose?  Why the copulate is it not copulating attached to the copulating bottom of the copulating sink?  What The Copulation?  (all said very noisily in my head, not a sound squeaked out other than random grunts and groans.)

Mrs. Andrew asks from other room what is up and starts giving possible verbal help.  Which, me being urinated and surely, shut her off rather abruptly (but remembering last time when I dropped my male reproductive organs into a meat grinder known as peeved Mrs. Andrew's Ire) but politely telling her I am working on finding out what's wrong.

(curse, grumble, curse curse) 

Look closely at the whole pile of collective garbage.  Ah, a nut at the bottom of the sink (being seen by a nut outside of the cabinet...) Grab the sink nut and give it a twist, it refuses to twist.  Though a large metal washer and a plastic washer thingy and a short section of plastic pipe thingy come loose into my overly large and clumsy mitts.  Dagnabit.  Nut not moving. Try again. Nothing. Time to go to my tool stash...

Go digging into tool bucket and find... the perfect thing.  A large vice-grips.  Open up to maximum, unscrew that bolt thingy on the bottom of the vice-grips (do they call them vice grips because when clamped down totally on a male reproductive organ cluster, all thoughts of vice go away?) until the jaws of the vice grip is as wide as possible.

Grab the dagnabit nut and carefully (so as to not crush nut) unscrew nut.  Ah, got it, along with lots and lots of foul smeg and goop and other things. 

Take nut, metal washer, plastic washer thingy and short section of plastic pipe thingy to the bathroom and wash everything off, getting rid of all the foul smeg and goop and other things, to discover...

THAT THE COPULATING METAL WASHER IS THE TOP/BOTTOM OF THE COPULATING NUT THAT HOLDS THE MOTHER-COPULATING....  Yeah, the metal nut had doth rotted apart and separated into two different pieces.  AND THE COPULATING PLASTIC WASHER THINGY IS DONE BROKEDED IN TWO... (curse, swear, curse curse.)

That nut.  That Copulating nut.
See the top of the nut?
That's what looked like a washer, not part of the nut.
Cheap arsed pot-metal copulating pieces.

Okay.  Realizing that I now live in an apartment that has a maintenance staff, I immediately rush over to my phone and place a call to said maintenance staff, right?  Right? 

Said maintenance staff is about half as intelligent, efficient, and swift as the maintenance staff on base housing, so you all who have experienced base housing know that what I am saying is that relying on the maintenance staff to get this fixed in less than two weeks time is slim to none.  Still waiting for the final repairs on the  (checks list) bathroom wall behind the toilet and the stove hood, which were being 'worked on' since April 2017.  Seriously, my mad mechanics skillz, I don't have them, but I am as far above the lackwits and slackjawed mental and physic idiots, morons and defectives (usually, from my experience, from ingesting too much recreational alcohol or other substances, while working...) (And, no, I do not live in some high-falutin tony chic apartment complex.  I live in an okay, single people and old people and way too many druggies (like crammed 8-10 in an apartment, with nobody on the lease)  type apartment complex.  As long as they stay on their side of the doors, walls, ceiling and floor, along with their noises and stenches, I'm okay with it.  Place is actually quieter than the 'kinda upscale' suburb where from I and Mrs. Andrew left to come here.)

Plus, of course, the danged copulating nut is probably about 4 bucks at (b)Lowes. Of which I will be going to on Friday (7-23-21) (as the story is being narrated, it is 4AMish on Friday, 7-23-21, remember?) and the hardest part (cleaning up the water and finding the issue) was already done, so mental order for two nuts with plastic washer thingies to be picked up during shopping trip.

Said shopping trip occurred.  Simple.  Walk into (b)Lowes and find the appropriate part which match the now dead parts in the ziploc bag I'm carrying.  Everything looks good, well, as far as I can tell because the (b)Lowes part is inside a plastic bag that's thick enough to probably qualify as armor.  

And the lighting at big-box-hardware store is horrid.  Seriously, try looking at objects on the shelves set back under huge amounts palletized stuffs that are blocking the pitiful lighting.  Ah, yeah.  Do you get a sense of foreboding?  Does a bear poop in the woods?

Yeah.

Yeah.

So, on the way back from a fast attack run through the Cable company (because they copulated up my ability to pay on-line, so they get to see my fat ass every month) and (b)Lowes and Walmart and Sams and Publix (where shopping is a pleasure, really!) and get home to get just plastered by a huge rain storm that lasted longer than 2 hours (only a 20% chance of light showers according to the weatherguessers, TOP MEN, TOOOP MEN!!!) and get car unloaded (I puts the groceries into those black and yellow plastic bins because I have a van and it keeps the stuff from rolling around, and I just stack the bins in the van, then next to the door, then inside the apartment and then unload them) and the stuff put away and take a nice warm shower because I got drenched by semi-freezing rain and hail (remember, only 20% chance of light showers.  TOP MEN!!!) and go to re-nut the sink and...

I can fit 5 of these fully loaded in the back of my little van,
not including what I can put on the permanent dog couch
between the rear 'cargo' area, and they stack inside of each other
so I can fit Lurch the wonder-chair in for to carry Mrs. Andrew around.

COPULATE MY EXISTENCE!

Yep. 

You may have guessed it.

THE WRONG COPULATING PART!  Right diameter, right thread, not big enough hole for the little plastic pipe thingy.

At which time I... I... verbalized rather forthwithly and loudly and very Anglo-Saxonly and then had to apologize to Mrs. Andrew for the aforementioned verbalizing.

Now, you may think, well, loud Anglo-Saxonly verbalizing, that's not so bad.

One time I did that, after a failed project dealing with Homey Despot 2x4 pressure treated cardboard garbage lumber, I verbalized rather forthwithly, rather loudly and very Anglo-Saxonly so much that a neighbor 2 blocks away called the sheriff to find out why the nice man at XXXX address was murdering his wife.  Which I was not.  Wife was at work.  I was on the back porch smashing the piece of excrement wood thingy that was less stiff than wet pulp wood into shards and throwing said shards as far as possible, which was pretty far, let me tell you (as Mrs. Andrew made me go clean up my mess lest the forest creatures (copulate them all) be impaled or stabbed or inconvenienced by all the pieces of Homey Despot's finest garbage pulp cardboard imitating pulp wood. 

At which time, RAGE takes over and my head hurts and I have problems seeing.  Not seeing clearly, just actually seeing, as the head hurts so bad I can't see.

No.  I don't have a problem with Rage. Not one dang bit.  

Put everything away. Grumbled. Fixed dinner. Simmered.

Not going to store on Saturday - that's homemade pizza day.

Not going on Sunday, that's stay inside day for lots and lots of reasons.

Going on MONDAY.  Taking all parts with me.  Taking a damned head lamp so I can actually see in the murky depths of (b)Lowes.  And will buy 2 sets so as to fix both sides of the double sink and I will make sure by ripping one of the packages open (they get weird if you use a knife in the store, done it before, watched employees get wigged out) to make sure plastic pipe thingy fits correctly. 

Then I will come home.  Fix the copulating demon-spawn sink.  


And await the need to go to the hardware store one or two more times because that's how my life rolls.


CME

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Just sayin'

 

Source
It came to me in the middle of the night. My laughing woke Mrs. J up.

Friday, July 23, 2021

But It's a Good Tired...

At the end of the day, the view is still awesome...

"I pick things up, I put them down..." (My job on the ship. Well, in computer terms I suppose.)

Essentially I get up, shave, shower, and head down to the pier. We brief, we work, we brief again. Then back to the hotel. Rinse and repeat. All crammed in to a roughly eleven hour day.

Tired?

Why yes, yes I am.

I think there is an army of construction workers who add ten feet to the pier every day. It gets longer, and longer, and...

Actually I should quit complaining, my old legs are almost used to all the walking. Still not used to all the ladders aboard ship.

I told the CSO¹ one day, "You go first Sir, this old one doesn't want to slow you down..."

His answer, "I dunno, you're pretty spry for an Air Force guy." Said with a smile of course. CSO is an outstanding guy, as is the entire crew from what I've seen so far. Yes, I wear my Air Force hat on the ship, told 'em if they wanted a job done right, you call in the Air Force. Yup, interservice rivalry, it's a time-honored tradition.

We've also got a great group of contractors on board. We're "gettin' 'er done."

Now I need to find my rack.

Cheers y'all.



¹ Combat Systems Officer, the officer responsible for the combat system. Makes sense, right?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

D'Oh!


Wednesday morning, 0515 PDT, Your Humble Scribe is performing his morning ablutions prior to heading down to the pier for to perform his duties aboard one of America's newest warships. When I noticed something...

Yeah, kinda like this, only the sun wasn't up yet...
(Source)

After a Saturday night of damned near no sleep, two flights which took me from PVD to SAN. An 11 hour day followed by a "why am I awake at 0300?" Followed by another day of the same, I actually had a normal night's sleep. (When you're a 68 year old male that means you get up every cuppla hours to pee. Yeah, yeah, TMI but this is a full, up front, in your face kinda blog. Sorta.)

Whilst in the midst of showering I had the thought that my shampoo was rather weak, no substance to it at all. Almost like conditioner rather than...

Damn it!

Whilst purchasing various and sundry items to make my trip more pleasant (not a huge fan of hotel soaps and the like) I bought what I thought was a shampoo/conditioner combo.

The picture above shows what I actually purchased.

(Source)

Yup, that's me...

(Source)

Guilty as charged.




Wednesday, July 21, 2021

So, Why Am I in California?

USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001)
U.S. Navy Photo

Doing my job is the short answer, the long answer would bore you and get me in trouble. Let's just say that I'm doing systems testing aboard USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) pierside in San Diego. (Or Sandy Eggo as Our Lex would have said.)

It's been hot (though not nearly as hot as inland) but there's a nice breeze coming in over the helo deck. Also the interior of the ship is air conditioned. Lots of walking is involved and the days are long (ish). Eleven hours has been the norm so far.

But I am loving every minute of it.

My co-workers are awesome and the crew is outstanding.

It's been a good evolution so far, though we're only two days in to a three week event, I have no complaints. I also have a new hat.


I love my job.

It's also worthwhile to remember who the ship's namesake is.

A hero in every sense of that word.

MA2 Michael A. Monsoor, United States Navy
U.S. Navy Photo

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

MASTER AT ARMS SECOND CLASS, SEA, AIR and LAND
MICHAEL A. MONSOOR
UNITED STATES NAVY
For service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

 Lest we forget...



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Boy it’s hot! ("How hot is it?")


As I understand it, our fearless leader is out my way in San Diego.  He might be escaping the heat of lil’ Rhodey, but he jumped into a frying pan out here too.  He’ll probably stay coastal, but a little more inland where I live it’ll be hitting 90, and if you go a little further east, it’ll be 95 or so.  And it's humid as all get out.  I have a wedding to attend this afternoon/evening* in one of those inland valleys, and it’s an outdoor occasion to boot.  It’ll cool off a bit, but the humidity is what I can barely tolerate. And SanDog is much more humid than it was when I first came back to the area in the mid-80’s.  If it wasn’t the wedding of the son of a cousin I’m close to (first cousin once removed for those interested in that kind of stuff), I might consider not going.  That’s how much I appreciate air conditioning.  I don’t know how I survived living in Pensacola for two years back in flight school.

In all honesty, I wouldn't back out of a wedding RSVP even if it was hotter than a flight deck in the Arabian Gulf during summer flight ops.  We’re actually all very excited about a family wedding.  As I probably mentioned before in a post or two over the years, I have A LOT or relatives living in the area, 50 or so, and we’re all very close.  While all the cousins (offspring of my mom and her 6 brothers and sisters) are all long married off, their kids- the second cousins once removed, are starting to get into the marriage game, or close to it.    

We were a bigger family once, with all my aunts and uncles having big families, but just two or three kids among my cousins’ families, mine included.  And our offspring are not as hot about getting hitched- with several unmarrieds in their 30s.   I guess I understand that a little.  Life is more complex these days, and definitely more expensive, especially out here on the left coast.  Property is CRAZY expensive, and the market is hotter than it has ever been.  But even though my wife is now in the real-estate game, that’s not even remotely a good thing.  By hot, I only mean that properties go off the market super quick, at far more than asking price, breaking all the norms of home buying.  She’s been a realtor for three years and after a slow start, she’s on a semi-hot streak recently though with a few condos under her belt and a house about to close.     

The problem with this hot market is that it’s pricing out so many so fast.  It’s also tough on realtors like my wife, since their clients are probably not rich executives with full cash offers.  She lost several bids due to a market that is demanding anywhere from $25-$50K over asking, no contingencies (fix this and that please), and is often going to full cash offers, and sometimes sight unseen by the winner bidders.  Prices are also off the charts.  

Realtors Report Home Prices in San Diego County Rose 1.6% in June to $865,000 Median                                                                    Source  

Is California so wonderful that an average home is worth over $850k?  Not if you like water.  


I love several things about my hometown- the weather, nearby family, cool stuff to do every day in a big Navy town, and my job of course, but that's about where the good stuff ends.  Gas is over $4 per gallon, taxes are high (highest state income tax and sales tax in the nation), roads are lousy, homeless flock here, yet we either don't want to or are unable to both enforce laws, or provide drug and mental health treatment to these people to help correct the problem.  What else?  Tradesmen get underbid on jobs by those not here legally, and a laissez faire attitude towards that illegal immigration, to put it mildly.  There’s also massive regulation on businesses, and with prohibitive start up costs.  I could go all day.  The political attitude is frustrating, yet we're trying to take CA back, firing our governor in a couple months if the recall goes through.  Maybe it'll get better, maybe it won't, but I'm happy that I'm an old vet with commissary privileges who bought a house when it was affordable.  

Another one to add to that list of gripes though is a local effort to provide more and more housing in an area that is pretty much locked up.  We have the Pacific Ocean to the west, the desert to the east, Mexico just south, and Camp Pendleton to the north.  There's very little land left.  Yet the demand for housing keeps increasing.  I understand this though, as San Diego is a gem and people really want to live here.  Therefore, the Mayor and City Council feel the need to disrupt what is, and they approved a plan to allow a massive change to single family home neighborhoods.  Last October, the council decimated single-family zoning by incentivizing developers to covert single-family parcels into high-density income properties.  Since there’s little land for new dwellings, the city is allowing not just small accessory dwelling units (ADUs aka Granny Flats) to be built in the back yard of neighborhood homes, but actual apartment buildings crammed in between your house and your neighbor's backyard.    

It's not only feasible, but it's happening already.  With homeowners having their yards developed, or developers buying up homes at generous prices and forcing this on the neighborhoods, neighborhoods are changing dramatically, and not in a good way.


It's not just that the city is allowing multiple units, but that they have eliminated both setbacks from your neighbor, and any regulations on parking.  If a home with an ADU is within a half mile of a transit corridor (aka bus line), there's no need for parking.  So if two cars can park in front of a garage with a single home, there's no need to add parking with what could be 17 homes on the lot.  Except everyone in California drives a car, and the public transit system is unreliable, so that just clogs up the neighborhood streets.  Not to get all judgmental, but neighborhoods with rentals and apartments just have a different feel from single-family neighborhoods with high owner occupancy.   There's a lot of congestion, more crime, and they're just not as safe.  Parking has already become a hot topic in multiple neighborhoods, with ADUs in some areas nearly doubling the amount of cars being parked on the street, and not always parked well at that.  These politicians are trying to apply a fix to a problem that isn't actually a fix, nor is it a problem in my opinion.  Sometimes areas are just too expensive, and the market bears what the market bears.  As much as I may not like the skyrocketing costs, (I have no interest in selling) that's something that is caused by a free market.  And our geography isn't conducive to more supply, no matter how many min-apartments the city council wants to force on us. 

So the weather is hot, the market is hot, and these politicians are making me and all of my neighbors hot under the collar.  While the drought has caused the water shortage, politicians have caused all the other ills that this gem of San Diego has been infected with.  I'm not sure what the solution is, other than to move away, or better yet- vote them out, every incumbent, every time.  


*Post written on Sunday 7/18

Monday, July 19, 2021

Megan and The Recruiter

 



Surgery went well, more to follow.  Hand aches more than it did on the other hand, so I'm going to fall back and repost this.

Originally published Monday, July 28, 2014

The Recruiter

A comment from Bill Brandt got this post story going long ago.  “…the premise was that any act of kindness you do to others - no matter how seemingly insignificant, can have profound life-changing effects.

So, There I was….* in the waning years of the presidency of the second person to be impeached and it was obvious to me that I was never going to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force in this lifetime and so retired.  Moved to the Hill Country of Texas and had been hired as a Teacher at the local High School, teaching computer classes.  I’d been doing it for a couple of years and was enjoying it.  The kids were generally well-behaved and polite.  I don’t think I was called “Sir” this often at any time in my military career. 
In any case, my first period class was webmastering and the bell rang at 0800. (8AM for my students, but I keep better track of time when it’s military time, why is that?) Anyhow, this class was one of my favorites, 20 kids, 18 of whom were female, very pretty, smart and funny. The two guys in the class were in Hog Heaven. 

The class was not a mandatory class, although it became one a few years later, so I didn’t have a state mandated curriculum.  I taught it the way I thought would be more useful to the student in later years.  The first grade period, I started them out on MS Office. For many of the kids, this was their first exposure to computers and actually using them to do research, write papers etc, so this was a valuable time. (This was a while ago, yes.) I showed them Excel and the test was building a spreadsheet that helped them decide which was better for them, taking the cash back or the lower interest rate when buying their car.  An eye or two opened on that one.  During the second six weeks we started building web sites.  The Microsoft answer at the time was Front Page and the other teacher started his kids out with that on Day One.  I started the second six weeks by having them open two programs, Internet Explorer and Notepad.  We built web pages strictly using HTML, by the time Christmas rolled around, they were building some pretty good websites and had a decent working knowledge of HTML, programming and troubleshooting.

The first class after Christmas Break, I started off the class by saying, “you guys are going to hate me, but open up Front Page”.  I then showed them how to build a page from the GUI.  A lot of grumbling was going on as I turned them loose on the next website project.  The class hasn’t been working it for more than 15 minutes when one of them puts up her hand and says “Mr Juvat, this isn’t doing what I want it to do.”  Just as the Evil Teacher wanted.  I then showed them the HTML tab in Front Page.  She clicks it and there’s her code.  I ask her to take a look at it and see if she notices anything.  She does and points out a tag that isn’t formatted correctly.  Once she was a student, NOW she is a Master! 

So, it’s almost spring break and I’ve got a student who has a bad habit.  One of my biggest peeves is being late.  I was a military brat and my father was known to drive off and leave you if you were going to make the family late for church.  No, that did not get you out of going to church, you had to walk to a later service.  That stood me in good stead when I officially joined the AF (I think Military brats tend to think of themselves as unofficial members of the Service, wish it counted towards retirement).  Acceptable Time on Target parameters for fighter pilots were plus or minus 2 seconds.  So timeliness is a BIG deal with me. 

This student, we’ll call her Megan, a senior and about to graduate, had a habit of being late.  Now, I don’t mean she was occasionally late, or even frequently late.  I mean she was late every single day.  Sometimes a matter of 30 seconds, sometimes 15 minutes, but every single day! She was never spiteful about it, always was polite and said she’d try harder…But. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!

Well, it’s a Monday and there’d been Thunderstorms over the weekend and our network had gone out and, and, and.  Frustration is starting to mount as I’m running around trying to get kids into their computers and projects when in bops Megan with a cheery “Morning Mr. Juvat!” That was the straw for this particular morning.

“Young Lady, Do you know what you need?”

Eyes got big and wide.  “Noooo”

“You need to join the Marines!”

Tears starting to form.  “Why?”

“You need to learn some self-discipline!”

Sniffle, Sniffle. Sits down at her computer.

I’m thinking to myself, “Well Done!  Juvat, You’re going to be fired, sued, arrested and probably shot!”

I look over at Megan and she’s beboping along on her computer, talking with her friend next to her and having a great time.  I forget about the incident.

June comes, the Seniors graduate and begin the next step in their life’s journey.  The summer passes, I've got a new crop of kids and we’re in the notepad hating phase when I hear a knock on the door.  I open it and Megan’s standing there.  She's ramrod straight in the Khaki Blouse and Blue trousers of a United States Marine! 

I invite her in and ask her why she stopped by.  I have no recollection of the incident.  She says “I just wanted to thank you.” Puzzled, I ask  “For what?”  She says “For talking me into joining the Marines.”  My jaw drops.  

We chat for a bit about what she was going to do in the Marines (intel) and as she stands up to leave, I say, “Megan, just one more question.  Have you been late since you joined the Corps?”


She said, “Well, I was a little slow getting off the bus at Boot Camp, but they made it very apparent that wasn't going to be acceptable!”  I laughed.

*What's the difference between a fairy tale and a war story?  A fairy tale begins "Once upon a time..." ,a war story begins "So, There I was...".

Sunday, July 18, 2021

You Can't Beat the View...


I've been in worse places.

Flights weren't too bad. Wearing a mask while on an aircraft is, how do I put it, awful. Simply awful.

Now to work...



And We're Off...

(Source)

Sandy Eggo, here I come...

AAR to follow.





Friday, July 16, 2021

Major Bland

 So... Well... We've all become way too familiar with our current crop of very political and very loose-lipped officers that keep popping up in the eneMedia, even going so far as to write political books while active duty.

This... This isn't how officers are supposed to act.  Not at all.  They are supposed to be outside of the political spectrum as far as we know (stop it... stop sniggering... this is way things are supposed to be, not are.)

I mean, we all remember (if you're old like OAFS or juvat) or know about how political tiffs have ruined officers' lives, like good old Shogun Doug MacArthur spouting off and getting furloughed by President Truman.  

So what, pray tell, you are asking, does this have to do with anything, Beans?

I'll tell ya.  Simple.  My dad.

I mean, I knew what political bent my mom has always leaned towards, though it was somewhat hidden while dad was serving.  But dad?  

Bland.  He was always bland.  Bland about things that matter, bland about the serious things and all the really important things that happened in his career.

Politics?  With dad, even after retiring, just didn't know.  Nothing.  When questioned, blandness occurred.

I mean, this is what we are supposed to expect from our officers while serving.  "Hey, Officer Dude, what's your feeling about XYZ?"  "I have pledged to protect and defend the United States and the Constitution...."  Right?  That's the answer, no matter if the officer is a leftist or conservative or libertarian or whatever.

Dad? The worst I ever heard was him grumbling about the idiot in the White House (circa 1977-79.) And when questioned as to what he was grumbling about, blandness ensued.

When watching "The Andromeda Strain" he mumbled, when they first go into the complex, "At least they got that right."  When questioned about the supposed Wildfire (laboratory with nuclear bomb to flash fry anything inside) installation after he mumbled the above mumble, blandness ensued.  Which has bugged me since.  When did my dad go into a top secret lab and why was he there?  And, of course, the answer is always "Nunya."  I have assumed my father's blandness and can bland myself when I ask unbland questions about things that I don't need to know about.

Like, well, when talking to Dad after he retired about what he did every three months when he went for a week-long trip to Eniwetak.  "Hey, dad, what did you do there?" "Not much, just stood on the concrete and took some measurements."  Bland answer said in a bland way.  Blandness ensued.

Let's break that down.  Dad was the Air Force Liaison Officer at Kwajalein from June 1970 to June 1973, as a consolation prize for not going to the 5-sided puzzle palace known as the Pentagon, or Mordor on the Potomac if you ask juvat.  So he was responsible for all Air Force activities at the Army base responsible for being the catcher's mitt for stuff launched from Vandenberg AFB and several anti-ballistic missile programs launching from the atoll (at Meck Island.)  And various other Air Force concerns in the surrounding area, like, well, Eniwetak Atoll.  You know, Eniwetak?  Where we blew a hole buncha stuff up with nukes?

Yeah, THAT Eniwetak.  Where, after blowing the living snot out of a bunch of stuff, the military eventually collected as much of the radioactive remains and buried them under a huge concrete dome.

Not my dad.
Photo from the New York Slimes 
(https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/opinion/a-pacific-isle-radioactive-and-forgotten.html

or this one...
Dad stood on the big white spot.  He also boated over the big blue spot.
http://imgday.com/2012/10/two-atomic-bomb-craters-one-covered-with-a-concrete-dome-enewetak-atoll-marshall-islands/


Concrete.  Remember the statement my dad made?  Every 3 months he stood on the concrete and took some measurements.  HE FRIGGIN STOOD ON A NUCLEAR SARCOPHAGUS AND TOOK RADIATION MEASUREMENTS!  (Which, come to think of it, actually meant he stood with other people and supervised, but since he was a good officer and had an engineering background, him saying he took measurements probably meant he actually took the measurements.)  

How bland can you get when talking about standing on a nuclear waste dump and taking reading and doing science stuff!  Total blandness.

Other blandness from Kwaj.  "Perry Cubmarines are kind of cramped."  That would be mini subs used to locate and collect re-entry vehicles launched from Vandenberg, in other words, non-functional MIRV warheads.  Such a bland statement regarding such a weird thing to be doing.

Yeah, one of these.  Kind of cramped...
http://flickr.com/photos/zaruka/7358025864

Or when, while at Vandenberg from, what, 1965 to 1970, he went on TDY to some desert location.  And when questioned, it was always something like "I was working on a project near White Sands."

I grew up thinking White Sands was just a regular military base.  Not, you know, White Freaking Sands where they did all sorts of secret squirrel missile stuffs and other weirdness.  And, of course, 'near.'  Gee, Beans, what's 'near' White Sands?  Could it be some secret squirrel place now known as Groom Lake or other names?

"I was working in the desert."  Total blandness.  

And then there was the stuff he was working with/on Range Tracking and Instrumentation Ships in the Miami area during the post-Cuban Revolution times.  "Well, the various Cuban gangs were a little frisky."  Kind of a bland statement about leaving a certain Cuban owned eatery and the place blows up while he's walking away (from someone else who was there with him who wasn't so... bland.) 

Then, well, what's a RTIS doing near Cuba during the time period around Cuba when we weren't launching Mercury capsules?  Hmmm???  Bland...

Or what it was like to sit pad alert in Korea in the mighty F-84G?  "Well, it was hot or cold depending on the weather."  Bland comment there.  For a plane that was capable of carrying a nuke and his squadron practiced nuclear bomb tossing regularly.  So was he sitting pad alert with a nuke under his posterior or just worrying about the Norks or the ChiComs getting stroppy?  Even after he retired, he would talk about the squadron monkey and the mud and dust and snow, but not anything much about the tension or the pressure put upon the air crews post-armistice.

Why did my dad get Apollo coins and a really neat plaque?  "Hey, dad, what did you do for the Apollo program?" "I did some project management."  See what I mean?  BLAND!

His only comment about dealing with Top Secret (and above) material was "If you are responsible for destruction of secret documents, make sure they are completely destroyed."  Which, later, turns out he was involved in a potential court martial case regarding some officer who didn't manage to make sure documents were completely destroyed (apparently, a piece of paper with the page and document number were clearly legible on it was discovered lodged in a fence near the burn pit.)  So, well, he cautioned me to make sure destructions were complete. Got more of the story from, yep, another less-bland acquaintance of my father, the involved officer himself.)

I am so proud of my bland dad.  For being bland. The epitome of blandness. I am sure if he was still alive he'd still be bland. Uber-bland.  So damned bland.

May we have more bland officers doing (bland) things.

And here's to you all out there who have done (bland) things and said (bland) stuff about the (bland) things you have done.

The Battle of Lake George

General Johnson Saving a Wounded French Officer from the Tomahawk of a North American Indian
Benjamin West

"We must pursue les anglais into their camp, then our victory will be complete!" exclaimed Jean Erdman, Baron Dieskau.

The young captain of the Compagnies franches de la marine with him shook his head, "The Mohawk are distressed at the death of their leader, my men have lost too many friends, and the Abenaki won't advance if the Mohawk do not."

Dieskau swore under his breath then turned to the commander of his grenadiers, "Form the men into column, six abreast. We shall show these cowardly curs how to fight!"

Dieskau himself led the column as they set out down the lake road to attack the English camp.


Sergeant Major Jacobs saw Mr. Rutland coming towards him, cartridge box slung over one shoulder, the man even had a bayonet for his firelock. "Come to join the fun Mr. Rutland?"

"Don't know about that, but... Do you hear those drums, Sarn't Major?"

Jacobs listened, there indeed, towards the French position, the sound of drums. Moments later a column of French grenadiers wheeled into view. "Better keep yer head down Sir, looks like we're about the begin."


As the French column moved into view, Sir William was with his artillery. The commander of the guns turned to him, "Canister Sir?"

"Indeed Captain, canister, pour it into them. I don't see many of their provincials or Indians about. Fire when you are ready Captain." Sir William stayed on horseback, the better to keep an eye on things. It also made him a conspicuous target.


Lifting his sword Dieskau bellowed out, "En avant! Pour le roi!¹"

With a growl the grenadiers of France advanced at the double, into a hailstorm of canister shot. Many men pitched to the ground, among them Baron Dieskau. A few men managed to fire a volley towards the English line which did little damage, other than sweeping Sir William Johnson from his horse. Wounded, he left the field and retired to his tent, the command going to an officer from Connecticut, General Phineas Lyman.

The French began to withdraw, leaving their dead and wounded behind, including Baron Dieskau who nearly died under a Mohawk tomahawk. He managed to survive, though shot through the bladder. He would be succeeded as commander of the forces of New France by General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grozon, marquis de Montcalm de Saint-Veran, better known to history as simply, Montcalm.


Some distance away, a party of New Hampshire and New York Provincials had been sent out from Fort Edward when the commander of that post had heard the fight between Dieskau and Johnson. They fell in with the French baggage train...
Hearing the report of guns in the direction of the Lake, they pressed forward, and when within about two miles of it, fell in with the baggage of the French army protected by a guard, which they immediately attacked and dispersed. About four o'clock in the afternoon, some 300 of the French army appeared in sight. They had rallied, and retreating in tolerable order. Capt. Folsom posted his men among the trees, and as the enemy approached, they poured in upon them a well directed and galling fire. He continued the attack in this manner till prevented by darkness, killing many of the enemy, taking some of them prisoners, and finally driving them from the field. He then collected his own wounded, and securing them with many of the enemy's packs, he brought his prisoners and booty safe into camp. The next day the rest of the baggage was brought in, thus securing the entire baggage and ammunition of the French army. In this brilliant affair, Folsom lost only six men, but McGennis was mortally wounded, and died soon after. The loss of the French was very considerable. (Source)
The three part Battle of Lake George was over.

The campaign was also over as Sir William received word of Braddock's bloody defeat on the Monongahela, there was no point in continuing.


And with that I shall be taking a rather long pause in the telling of this tale. I am heading out for to labor aboard one of the Navy's warships (tied up to the pier) for three weeks.

I have been promised ten hour days and six day weeks. Apparently we will be getting Sundays off. (I feel as if I've been swept up by the press gangs of old!)

Not a problem but it gives me little time to write and I do wish to finish editing my WWII tale so I can get that published before the year is out. I know any number of you are awaiting that event with something approaching impatience.

So for the next three weeks or so (a trip to Maryland will occur nearly immediately after my return from Occupied California) this tale of the wilderness must be placed on hold. I will try and entertain you with pithy tales of travel and my adventures out West.

We shall see...



¹ Forward! For the King!

Link to all of the Chant's fiction.