Tuesday, July 27, 2021


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.

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.

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. 

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.


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?



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.



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.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Just sayin'


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.


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


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...

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.


Yup, that's me...


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

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...