Well, I've recieved two positive write-ups and have been given a first tiny sliver of real responsibility in my company. It's tiny, really almost beyond microscopic, like gluon-sized. But it's also a vote of confidence, which is always good. I am definitely also at the point where a cell phone is pretty much going to be a necessity, despite how valiantly I have fought against being forced to obtain one. There are some awesome deals online, and at some point I may also get one of those groovy earbug bluetooth headsets to use with Pallas too.

Last week at this time it was warm enough for shorts and sandals and sweat. Now all of a sudden it's chilly in Anytown; indeed, it's chilly all over the country. I can't wait for the snow. Tee hee.


Today was good because I met a good person. We're in the same Calc class, and we'd decided to set up a study session for this afternoon because we're not learning anything from our professor. There were actually several people who were supposed to show up, but it ended up just being me and her, which worked out splendidly. We worked together for a while on calc problems, learned a few things from it, then she offered to cook dinner for everyone. We went for a long walk to the store, then made stuffed shells and garlic bread, and the two of us and one of my roommates all sat and laughed at the TV and it felt like we'd been living together for years.

She's good looking, to be sure. But I didn't even notice that so much as how completely comfortable it was to be around her. It was just, nice.

It was also kind of fun, because today I was walking down the street in uniform and a small child asked me, "Hey mister, is you really in the Navy?" His face was the picture of excitement. I smiled broadly and said to him "Yes sir," and he lit up like a star. I don't know why, but I desperately hope that he grows up with the chance to realise whatever dreams were driving him in that moment.


Item 1: Lewis Black. Live. High-fucking-larious. The opener for this tour, Mitch Headburg, was funny too, in his self-depriciating way. We did have to sit through Dave Attel's penis-drug-alcohol joke set, which was fairly rote. But it was well worth it, for Black hit his stride and took the audience for a riotous ride through modern American idiocy. The forum was large, for they're performing mainly in concert-type halls, though Black through his skillful use of rage and sarcasm turned it into a one-on-one. Superb.

Item 2: My father is a math teacher, and unfortunately the Math Gene has skipped a generation, rendering me an idiot when it comes to formulas and functions. The calculus teacher that I am currently under is a poor one. Here's how I know: The other day in class, she makes the statement that our last set of homework papers were all "really poor. And I don't know why."

Well, there are two possibilities, ma'am. Either A, the entire class is stupid, or B, we're not being taught. And the fact that you stated your ignorance of our capabilities in front of us tends to make me think that it's the latter. The vast majority of my dad's students leave his class at the end of the semester with much improved grades and skills, year after year, because he teaches them. My instructor spouts jargon to us and scribbles on the blackboard, and can't understand why we don't get it.

I love the University of Anytown. I seem to be hitting about 50/50 with it's teachers, though, which might be a fair average but remains incredibly frustrating to someone who's a natural teacher.


So I'm walking up the stairs to my Nth story apartment-style housing unit, when I notice some commotion going on ahead of me. I open the door to my floor, and there's this guy and girl playing whiffle ball in the hallway. No big deal, except that one of them had lain an open bag of crackers against the door I just opened, with the result that they spilled out into the stairway.

A short pause. Then, "Oops. Uh, hey man, you can have all the ones off the floor that you want."

This was his actual response. Remember what I just said about idiocy? My reply, which I thought was quite calm and well mannered, was "How about you can eat all your crackers off the floor?"

"It's a deal, man." They both giggled like a chimp getting it's ass scratched, and several hours later there is still a cracker graveyard in the stairs.

How? How are people still allowed to evolve like this? Am I the only person left on this planet with an active conscience?
There was a scene in a recent repeat of The Simpsons, the one where Homer runs for sanitation commissioner. The family sits around the table, and I forget what Homer said, but it was one of his remarkably dense gems. The camera pans to Lisa's head, and a voice whispers, "I know. I heard it too. Here's some music." Whereupon Ein Klein Nachtmusik starts playing and Lisa sighs in relief.

Withdrawing from the world like that is rarely healthy, but I agree with the sentiment completely. Sometimes idiocy hurts you.

Apple just upgraded the PowerBook line. The chief difference between the new 17" and my own Pallas Athena? A 33% speed boost, to 1.33 GHz. As this system already performs admirably when I ask it to do ten things at once, I really can't complain this time. For once, their upgrad strategy has not piked me in the arse, although if the new 15" had been out at the same time as Pallas, I might have gone for that option. But lo! This machine is still remarkable, and stable and useful and fun and a head-turner. Wheelah.


Well, here we go. Mr. Clark has made it official, and now I must put my money where my mouth shot off to. I watched a brief interview with Aaron Brown on CNN tonight, and it was fairly obvious that Clark was tuckered out. He was evasive when Aaron asked for specifics on prescription drug benefits for seniors and "partial-birth" abortions, which was disappointing. He was quite specific when asked about the possibility of there being thousands of American troops in Iraq if and when he became president.

I'm sensing a trend, one that could land our erstwhile General in trouble on the stumping trail. He's still really the only candidate I would actually trust, though, so it's kinda tough.


One of the central facts in any military professional's life is that you really must be two people. There is the You that your family and friends know, the you that is free to bum around the pad in jeans and slippers unshaven, to do as much or as little as you please with every day. The other You is the Officer, who presents at all times a clean appearance, who takes responsibility for all their actions and behaves properly within their station.

This division creates some problems, mainly relating to how you address a superior in a social setting. A Mister or Misses Last Name is always safe, but christ, just passing by a fellow 4/C on the street I'm not gonna go "Hey there, Mr. Middy. How is it hanging?" For most of these kids, it'd be perfectly acceptable to know each other by last names only until the end of time. I think that as the year presses on and we all become much more familiar with protocol and whatnot, they'll ease up, but for now I've decided to learn everyone's first names and use those in random encounters. Hopefully that will help everyone to relax, although not so much that we start that nonsense in uniform. That would be a Bad Thing.


I have no capacity for enjoying rap music. It's one of those things, like bull testicles and bow ties, that I will never understand the joys of. It's so fucking negative that I have to use words like "fucking" to describe it (which, not so incidentally, seems to be the subject matter of most rap I've heard, including the gem from last night "I'm fucking yo' bitches." Charming). I feely gassy and gross, but I might have to slip out again this evening to escape it.

Hey, half the time there's no one around, and I can always rely on my roomies to turn it down when I need to sleep. I can easily allow them this time to be noisy.

I would like to announce my whole-hearted support for a Wesley Clark presidency. Dean is currently the most worthy and likely candidate among the Opposition, but if Clark runs, it's over for Bush. There is no way to impugn the man's intelligence, experience, or most importantly, honor. He has enormous, perhaps historical cross-party support. He is well liked and respected by virtually everyone who has met him. And he can be counted on to completely wipe the floor with "Flyboy" Dubya.

Also, I hope to have someone with real military experience in office by the time I commission, so that I can say with pride that I serve under the Commander in Chief of the United States of America.


Drill knowledge! I can recite the 11 General Orders for a Sentry. I can recite the 11 Principles of Leadership. I know the effective range, nomenclature, firing rate and weight of the M16A Assault Rifle. I know all about CG's and CVN's and LHA's and FFG's. These are the kinds of things that everyone must memorise, but only a very few of us will actually use.

Oh, and I figured out why I was all bent out of shape. Basically, it's because I forgot one of the most useful and important lessons I've ever learned, to never take yourself or what you're doing too seriously. Because then you have a tendancy to focus too much on the results, and so the means to whatever those ends are get muddled up. Instead, focus on the quality with which things get done, and the results will come well and naturally.

Tak leaves for a real vacation sometime tomorrow. A highly social gathering shall take place at my apartment tonight without my being involved at all. I feel surrounded by bodies yet somewhat isolated. Ah well. Perhaps I will finally finish this history of the British Navy during WWI, so that I can get on to WWII for my class.


Ahhh, another day, another taxpayer's dollar (hey, that's me too). This week we're being issued the SDB's, or Service Dress Blues, the black jacket / trousers white shirt combo that people most commonly associate with the Navy. Again, not a whole lot different from the early days of the ironclads.

Goddamit I'm mopey. I thought I was coming into this whole college life thing badass and prepared. Now that Calculus is kicking my ass thoroughly, and ROTC requirements are tripping me up left and right, my level of self confidence has plummeted. This very afternoon I tried to rattle off a peice of Drill Knowledge to a first class so I could meet a qualification, and I totally blew it. Not because I didn't know it, although a word or two was misplaced. I blew it because I lost my cool and stuttered and left a generally unfavorable impression.

So, how does one regain their bearing? I need to clear my mind.

Oh, and happy anniversary, New World Order. We'll get things put to rights eventually.


Battalion PT is kind of fun, when we go running outside and people stare at this gaggle of identically-dressed idiots shouting cadence with our senior chiefs. 4th Class got chewed out by the Master Chief when PT was through, because we still have a few rough edges when it comes to military protocol. They stay on our six pretty tight, but the cause is just. I know I have a tendancy to slide if someone isn't pushing me, and I fully expect that the academic rigour I push through these next few years will be harsher than anything I've done before. And that, of course, is half the reason I joined in the first place.

The other half? Pressing the button that sends $250,000 worth of electronic death into the homes of our enemies (provided the intel is good).

Speaking of academic rigours, it will be "rigorous" indeed to sit through a full semester of bloviation from my history teacher. Right now we're learning about the origins of WWII, and his grandstanding is insufferable. He treats the class like an audience, pasuing for dramatic effect and painfully enunciating parts of sentences. For. No. Good. Reason. Besides that it makes him sound serious.

And he works from notes that are obviously ten years old. I could take those notes and in a week do a better job of teaching than he is. Bah!


...And thus concludes my first full day in uniform. Honestly, Navy khakis haven't changed in more than sixty years. I know this because a) I am a historian, and b) I went to a war memorial museum this afternoon, and the exhibits for the WWII era prominently displayed uniforms that looked almost exactly like mine. Although, as a 4th Class Midshipman, I am completely lacking in any form of decoration. Just a name tag, and a gold anchor for our garrison cap. In a way, it's cool that this traditional styling has carried on through so many wars and social upheavals. It's also kind of disappointing, because it seems like one of those things that everyone's just too lazy to change. Although they do say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. On the Submarine we have communications and emergency lighting systems that are still in use today (the XJ/XJA sound powered telephones, and the battle lanterns).

Remedial PT with the Gunnery Sergeant, playfully referred to as "the breakfast club," wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it would be. Turns out, as long as you don't make an ass of yourself screwing up, the man has a great sense of humour. But God Help You if you don't Perform.

I also landed what is perhaps the easiest work study job on the face of planet earth. AV setup, anyone? 15 minute jobs, one or two a day, and for the rest of our shift we're on call. That translates into being paid for four or six hours of work while actually working for only 15 minutes. And our bosses seem to be in on it, and are very cool about helping us hook up our laptops to the campus network. It's kind of astounding. Yesterday we all watched the E! True Hollywood Story about Jenna Jameson for entertainment. It was, funny, in a sad way.


Waking up at 0500 every morning this week. Except, maybe for Friday. Our second Physical Readiness Test was today, just two weeks after our first one. I failed both, but there was significant improvement in my score from this morning. Typically, I'm told, we have one PRT per semester, and last year the 4th Class didn't have their second one until November. Given a few more weeks to work up, I could have passed this Test, but as things stand, I'm in remedial PT. With the unit's Gunnery Sergeant. AND I've been assigned the Batallion Master Chief as a "mentor," which is amusing since I'm likely older than he is. Such is the way of things.

All is cool with the roomies so far. The gentlemen above us on the 4th floor have a habit of playing loud, hideous, thumping rap music at late hours, but my bros have got my back if I decide to take it to them. And it's actually fairly relaxing to lie in bed in the afternoon while someone plays the chords from "Blackbird" at the other end of the hall.


The other students that live in these wonderful on-campus subsidized apartments are, by and large, noisy stupid pigs. I know they're noisy, because I can hear them at night giggling and playing music at high volumes. I know they're pigs, because the lawns and the stairs are now coated in a fine layer of garbage, and the hallway outside my particular pad has been trashed, torn up, and otherwise vandalised. I know they're stupid, because of the two previous factors.

I need a home that's buried well away from these beasts. Am I the only person in Anytown who likes to be well-rested in the morning?