Going down to the sea in ships can best be described as weeks of mind-numbing boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror. Based on my Navy career with about twelve years actual sea time, I can attest this is true.
So, sailors come up with very creative ways of filling in those weeks of mind-numbing boredom. One way is to play pranks with new crew members just starting their seagoing careers. On my very first submarine sea voyage I became the star attraction in a mail buoy run.
I’ve been on a roll lately in answering Quora questions. Either I’ve accidentally worked out the format for writing attention-catching answers, or just gotten lucky. Because most of my answers seem to be getting lots of views, upvotes, and comments.
My latest best-read answer was comparing Navy Chiefs to the comparable senior non-commissioned officers of the Army and Air Force.
Between my former Navy career and present consulting career I’ve met, worked with, even lived with, a lot of different people. New people constantly cycle into my world, then cycle back out due to forces and decisions not under my control.
On the positive, I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting people whom I never would have known through social activities. On the negative, I’ve been forced to deal with some truly horrible people.
More than horrible, I’ve been thrown into dealing with actual monsters living among us. People who from the outside seemed like normally decent human beings, but scratching their skin revealed a creature totally devoid of soul. One of these monsters was a seemingly decent family-man with a wife and three lovely daughters. Dealing with him threw me into one of the ugliest situations I’ve ever been involved in.
So, it’s coming up on that time of year again. The time of year when people are supposed to be just a little bit nicer to each other. A time when magic is in the air and miracles happen. Yes, it’s coming up on Christmas time, again.
Today is the one day each year America nominally gives thanks to military veterans, past and present. On this day lots of important people make a point of taking a few minutes out of their self-professed busy schedules to say something nice about veterans. Some important people will even go to a nearby military cemetery and lay a wreath on someone’s gravesite.
Meanwhile, restaurants across this great nation offer “special” free meals as their special thank you. For this one important day of remembrance. I guess it’s something.
I’ve been catching back up on my daily grind this past week after returning from a vacation. For our latest adventure, Winnie and I did something entirely new – for us. After months of planning and anticipation, Winnie and I took our first vacation cruise a couple of weeks ago.
My last Navy sea tour, on the Aegis Cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73), from February 1994 to April 1996, homeported in Hawaii, was a bittersweet time. On one hand, I was winding down my Navy career so things like evaluations and career development didn’t mean anything. On the other hand, I ran a division of eighteen people, each of whom were smart and creative. Each in their own way.
So, one of my challenges as the division Senior ChiefSenior ChiefShort-hand title for the Navy rank of E-7. Longer title version would be Electronics Technician Senior Chief, Submarine Qualified. Abbreviated as ETCS(SS). A senior non-commissioned officer with a broad range of leadership responsibilities. was to encourage my people’s creativity while simultaneously preventing them from doing anything seriously stupid. At times, this proved to be very challenging.
Over the past months I’ve started to hang out on the social media network “Nextdoor.” I like this media as it keeps me hooked into local events, news, and neighborhood issues. But yesterday I discovered that this media, too, is not immune from the gun-toting crazies I colloquially term “ammosexuals.”
This discovery resulted from a post-turned “discussion thread” on the pros and cons of people packing loaded guns in our county parks. My piece of the discussion did not go well. Since working through that discussion, I’ve thought of a modest proposal on guns. A proposal that might actually satisfy gun-crazy ammosexuals and still keep us non-gun-crazy people safe from them.
If you own one or more kayaks, eventually you’ll need to do some amount of cleaning and maintenance. I’ve found it’s a lot easier to work on my kayaks if they’re at chest height. So, a work stand becomes a useful kayak accessory.
I needed a work stand specifically suited for inflatable kayaks. Most commercial stands are two-piece units which are ideal for hard shells. Inflatables, not so much, as the kayak sags in the middle without proper support. I decided to design and build my own work stand.