My roommate "Class" came up with the idea for hosting a wine+jazz party at our university-owned pad a while back. I thought it sounded like a good idea, cool music and good food and plenty of wine for all. Class's kind of people, though, are most definitely not my kind of people. I learned how to make fresh bruschetta and cut up lots of fruit for a chocolate fondu plate, and a few of the bottles of wine people brought aren't all that bad. But I can't get smashed because I work tomorrow morning, and I don't think I'd want to around these folks anyway. They club and dance and own ten pairs of shoes each, and it doesn't make me uncomfortable, it's just kind of sad. Ah well, this pinot grigio isn't the greatest, but it works okay...


Well damn. One of my erstwhile roommates is gone for a few days with his family, and the pad is already a happier place. It's not because this kid's a cruel pig-man or anything heinous. He's just, noisy. He's a noisy, noisy boy, and kindof messy and stinky to boot. He plays guitar and sings, one of which he can do well. I don't mind the guitar because he's actually pretty good, but the boy should just never open his mouth. His voice is that painful.

So I'm standing in the kitchen and one of my other roomies comes over and opens the refrigerator. I say to him, "wait, do you you hear that?" He pauses for a second, then smiles and says, "that silence?" I reply, "that's the sound of no Dirty Boy!" And we both laugh, because it's the truth. We're happier people now.

And of course I feel horribly guilty, because this sort of attitude is definitely off the Way of the kensei. However, seeing as my ambitions will not allow me to live the life of a true aesthetic I must admit to a few earthly spiritual imperfections. By and large I am not an easy person to perturb, but the difference is so immediately noticable that I cannot deny it. The next few days will be almost blissful, and it's all because a certain person will not be present for them. Terrible terrible.
Cool: it's really late and I just finished a paper that's due tomorrow - no, later today. It's the first time in a long time that I've put anything off this drastically, and being done with this project just in time feels kindof good. Of course, sleep feels better, so I'll get on that pronto.

By the by, I got a billet as a squad leader on next year's drill team. Our current drill commander claims that, with batallion/company PT a thing of the past, our positions will entail more real work and responsibility than a more traditional one. My fellow leaders and I will be responsible for the appearance, performance, and training of our squads, for unit functions and drill competitions. I'm Pumped, Oo-rah.


H+101 hours - I had forgotten just how bad "Spaceballs" was until we watched it on the bus. There are plenty of classic lines, but good God it's an awful movie. And now I have to try and drown out whatever's just been put on with some high noise - elder Beck with The New Pollution does well. The temperature drops as we wind northwards, and people begin to complain. We eat at a corral-style feeding trough, hit the head en masse, board our chartered conveyance and become one with the highways again. The seat by the head on the bus is starting to stink, dammit. In theory we have another nine hours of traveling before we get home, and are privileged to walk into our Batallion Muster with all our beads on. Then comes a full monday of crap, followed by another week and another month and the rest of the semester and the rest of this awful cursed year of 2004.

Will it be cursed? That's a tough nut to question. There is a good chance that near the end of this year, we will have a new President in some form, and in a way everything leading up to that event is just a sort of time murder. The forces of good and evil are gathering for the final showdown in our nation's capital, and when the Time of Reckoning comes one of our parties will be pistol-whipped into submission by the new Kings, who will interpret their .5% margin of victory as a New Mandate, to continue the rape of the American Dream by some new technically legal means. This doesn't have a whole hell of a lot to do with our trip to New Orleans, but it's on the mind. There's a newly minted couple in the seats in front of me, and for some reason their necking doesn't bug me. I'm owed one bottle of Corona from Mr. Green Jeans, and I can't remember buying the six pack that it came from. I think I also bought someone a syringe from a bar - Jesus knows just what was in it. GOD HATES ALL SINNERS. Remember this when the time comes for you to choose, bubba, keep that in mind when you are deciding what kind of score you want the Great Ref to put on the books next to your name. Only YOU have the power to save your soul from the eternal torments of Hell.

Shit on that gibberish. But there doesn't appear to be any more to say, so I'll let the battery on Pallas run itself out playing some soothing tunes.


H+77 hours - And so much for all that. The inspection was painless, although we got nailed for unsatisfactory shaves. Our drill commander fscked up the marching routine, but not quite as bad as the last time. The real story of that day is, however, the night, when we loaded ourselves into the Liberty Bus and, thirty minutes later, onto the streets of New Orleans. If you've ever heard tales about what a wild time it is, they're probably all true. It is a massive, never-ending party that encompasses virtually the entire inner city, and for those in the right frame of mind it could be the time of a lifetime.

H+90 hours - And for many, it was. How can you not enjoy yourself in a town that has drive-through daqueri huts? Some of us came out in worse shape than others, but our bus has the same number of bodies on it this morning as it did when we left home. No small achievement, since several of these kids were avowed alcoholic virgins before the weekend. Most were seasoned pros, or at least experienced amatures. I began the night with a pitcher of Bud at a nasty Mexican restaraunt somewhere off of Bourbon Street, continued with several cans of Bud and Heinie and Amber Brock, then wrapped things up with a pair of "Hand Grenades," the fruity drink of choice for the hip party clientel. They come in neon grenade-shaped cups, but I failed to retain either of mine. I don't remember doing much except walking around and buying drinks, but everyone assures me that I was having a good time.

So last night I stayed in and played hearts and basketball. This morning as we crossed the Mississippi Delta again I felt an even deeper longing for the sea. The ripples and crests are pillows, the foam a blanket, this endless empty blue sky the only roof I need. I could and someday will rest forever among the waves. Good Lord, what a sentimental moron - humans are no better suited to live in the ocean than they are to live in space. Whatever primitive genetic memory I'm addled with is just that, primal instinct. When the waves do close over my head God will be laughing at me, the Big Idiot, for thinking this was somehow right and proper.


H+29 hours - We had a chance to scope out some of the competition and eat in the base mess hall, which were both somewhat underwhelming experiences. Based solely on what I've seen of other teams so far, we'll fall right about in the middle of the pack, which I'm told is quite an improvement over previous years. The Colonel expressed the hope that we would come back with some sort of trophy for our new, somewhat barren display case that sits in the foyer entrance to the unit. We all gave him one of those good-natured ha ha's because we know for a fact that with our practice schedule, we're nowhere near the top. Academy kids do this for hours a day, every day of the week, so if we place in any capacity we're golden.

There was a cheesy little parade on the base, with floats and motorcycles that threw Mardi Gras beads to anyone on the side of the road. Some of us came back better equipped than others. As the time approaches for the depravities (festivities) to begin, however, I find myself less and less enthusiastic about attending a ritualistic orgy of drink and dance in the heart of a foreign land. Our Base is far, far away from Tulane and Bourbon Street, and I worry that some of these kids are learning to swim in shark infested waters, being young and new to the life of carousing on the town after dark. But what am I saying? This Midshipman hardly caroused when he could, and even now that the Curse has been lifted I am not tempted by Sin and Vice.

H+42 hours - This sentence sums it up: "It's been six months since I had a drink, and I'm in New Orleans for Mardi Gras." Those are the words of an addict, a goddamn drunk. I said that I wouldn't buy spirits for the underage amongst our battalion, and for this run, I'm not; but someone's gotta cover for this massive amount of booze if the Gunny should come back and catch us with these purchases. At breakfast a few squads from another unit came into the mess. The contrast between their unit and ours was striking; we've always known that compared to the rest of the nation we're somewhat laid-back, but these kids were all shaved like Space Monkeys, names on their out-shirts, dressed identical, dressed to kill first thing in the morning. Drill Team is probably the most intensely military activity we participate in, and that's a fairly small chunk of the battalion. The rest of the time, we're midshipmen for two days out of the week.

On the other hand, we're well adjusted social people, with the full benefits of a more real-world college experience. The kids that get processed through the Academey are locked on, but no one else in the fleet can stand them. I'd rather be sane and a little nasty than come off as a polished prick.

In 3.5 hours, we saddle up and ride into battle. Boo-Yah.


More from the Tulane Journal:

H+19 hours - Mama pajama rolled out of bed and she ran to the police station, and that's where everything started to go wrong. Never run directly to the Police; they are powerless to protect you in the face of True Evil, which is the only Evil I fear at this point. We're crossing some massive body of water that no one can name, definitely in LA, several hours ahead of schedule and full of coffee and breakfast buffet insta-meal. This Evil is insidious for it cannot be seen but must be guarded against at all times. For our decade it's name is Terrorism, and it is pure masturbation to think that any part of this bid to send our Drill Team against the best and brightest from the rest of the nation will aide in Mistah Bush's never-ending War on Tear-r.

Who would build a highway straight through the middle of a green swamp field? Americans, that's who, bubba, and if you've got any sort of problem with that you can take it up with the Federal Highway Commission and Department of Pork. That would be your Congress, yours and mine, bubba, you'd better believe we put those scumsuckers in power for lack of a less offensive alternative. Does that make it Right? Hells no, and not even less Evil. But perhaps there is no way to live in America without participating somehow in it's eventual destruction, when throwing away a tin can means putting rust directly into your children's drinking water. They have shots to deal with that sort of poisoning, but how long will it last? Don't think about it. Throw up another Sams Club and move on to the next hillbilly enclave.

When the sun intruded into my eyeballs this morning we joked that we'd inadvertantly driven to Hawaii, what with the palm trees and warm air. Oh, you rotten bastards! Traffic on an interstate at 9 A.M. is never a good sign, but there is jack-all to be done about it. Take a deep breath, glance idly at the brick home neighborhood that runs down Lamb Lane just off to your right, accept your fate. Boys will be boys, and not even a busload of Warriors can move the deadly results of their youthful indescretions in Speed off to the side of the road in time to make a difference. Perhaps this will put us back on time, in the wrong direction.

H+24 hours - We're actually staying in a new gym on a reserve air force base, where large expensive raptors take off overhead every half hour. There are clean, modern facilities, and so far we haven't had to share them with anyone else. We're also getting cots, which is quite an upgrade from our last stay in the bleachers. There are basketball hoops and climbing ropes and a lounge equipped with a soda vendor and plenty of hot sauce. Marines need their Hot Sauce.
Wow. There really is nothing like New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I kept something of a journal, although I don't know how much of it will go up here. Let's start with the first few hours...

18FEB04 - Well, we’re H+6 hours into our mini-invasion of the Deep South, and my Drill Commander just sent me his love in a bottle of Amber Brock, which I haven’t had in about 6 months. A new medication, at least new to me, has made this possible, and seems to have done a real job on my symptoms. Our chartered Drill Bus is unfortunately equipped with TV screens and loud speakers, which are playing “Gladiator” for anyone who cares. And anyone who doesn’t - goddammit those things are loud. I would cut the wires to the two that they’ve installed over my particular seat, but that kind of destruction is generally frowned upon with rented property. This whole experience is already several steps up on our last competition road trip, where we were stuffed like tinned crab meat into a couple of industrial vans.

We’re passing baseball stadiums with fameous names and outlet strip malls that perfectly mimic the shopping arenas common to every city in America - my sincere hope is that I will wake up at the end of our journey in a place which is recognisably different than the one I left.

H+12 hours - Passing trucks give me the impression that we're surrounded by ghosts. We're finally done with movie time, so the bus is dark except for one or two reading lights, and the glow-screens of various music devices. The rest of the world narrows to a spotted tunnel of cream-coloured lights and asphalt until another American city looms in the distance, flanked by the requisite Waffle Houses and Rent-A-Cube self-storage depots. Ye Gods - did that billboard change it's message just to suit my taste in music? It's happening on a road near you - Believe It. The Golden Age of Marketing is at hand, when all the businesses you patronise are owned by a central Parent with access to your spending habits and credit history. They will know where you live, what kind of coffee you brew, and when you like to turn on the morning news to ingest along with your Malt-O-Meal.

That rotten vending machine could only dispense caffine, so I'm awake in Nashville for the driver change-off. This version will be an upgrade, a Beast with raven hair and the sick ability to pilot our vessel through the mad straits of the Bible Belt all the way to the anus of the Mighty Mississip' at the Gulf of Mehico, where we make our beds tomorrow night.


Someone at work today looked at me in my SDB's and said, "You're a pilot?"

This happens quite frequently, actually, since the airline (and bellhop) industry saw fit to copy naval uniforms to clothe their own ranks. Why? I always chuckle when I see a pilot walking around with their three-striped epaulets, until I remember that there's little to distinguish me besides an anchor. I think the Navy needs new uniforms, and not just because they haven't changed in 100 years. There's something to be said for tradition, sure, but something more distinctive, more unique to the Navy would do wonders for public and personal image. I dunno, something along the lines of the unis the officers in Nadesico had, but not so elaborate.

I don't mind the khakis quite as much as I used to. They don't fit me too well, and the female version recieved the lowest satisfaction rating of any uniform in a recent survey, but overall they're comfortable and people assure me that they look "sharp."

Might have to take the day off of classes tomorrow to get everything together in time. A real tragedy, that.
"The defense department regrets to inform you that your sons are dead because they were stupid."

A fellow MIDN's AIM away message, and also one of my favourite quotes from Top Gun. How many of us really will die because of some stupid mistake, one of those "senseless tragedies" that makes the headlines for a day and then disappears? How many are dying right now? Those who deal in Death must live with their mortality in a way no others may understand. I haven't gotten there yet, but I know that the first time you're shot at it changes you forever. The question then becomes, will I be one of the lucky, or the dead?

Wow, that's kindof a downer. I'll try to come up with something more amusing later on.


Outstanding! Up since 0445, that makes it a 19-hour day fueled by two cans of Carbonated Energy Drink. Tomorrow, a shave and a haircut and another doctors visit and laundry and packing. I'm thinking of getting a hotel room for Friday night in New Orleans, just to have a place to go and take a long shower. Hm, let's check those prices now...


It's hardly proper, but I can't resist thinking that now we have the full might of the Army and Navy pitted on the Democratic side against the Texas Air National Guard and it's AWOL 1st Lt. Bush.

I am sad that Clark was forced to jump out of the race by this Kerry-shaped killer typhoon, and I have to admit that the lightning speed with which he's locked up the nomination makes me slightly nervous. Too many factors came together too quickly for this to sit well with those of even a slightly paranoid bent. I have an awful feeling that there's some sort of Ho-Tep in Kerry's closet that's going to break out and eat the soul of the Democratic party this fall.


I've spoken about the effects of Total Burnout before, and I think that if I were still in high school, or in a position to obtain massive amounts of free coffee tomorrow morning, I would go All Out. For the sake of creativity and my fellow Man, and the terrible future we shall create together...

John Kerry taking money from special interest groups? Astonishing! Of course, Mistah Bush would never do such a thing, at least, no more than $120 Million in two years for a re-election campaign. How could you possibly need to spend that much money, sir?

"Just watch."

Pig! That shiteater has been rooting around in his own filth for so long that his eyeballs are covered in dung. He has no form of vision which is not colored by Money and Politics, which are really just two different shades of grey and thus quite unsuited to making distinctions between right and wrong. I on the other hand was a Champion this afternoon, capped by the fact that I now own a pair of stain-proof khakis purchased at a good discount. This miracle fabric will change our lives, yessir, no more laundry and embarassing marks on our leggings. Hell, we should just make full-body suits from the stuff, coat our teeth and hair with Teflon so that nothing gets messy ever again, and we can all look like Stars every hour of the day and night.


Bzzzzzzzzz.... yes indeed, sports fans! Having A; been up and awake since 0430 this morning and B; just downed 16 oz. of Carbonated Energy Beverage, I've achieved that weird balance of being stimulated to a comfortable degree while my eyelids droop and my muscles ache from exhaustion. I must shortly run off to the gym for a special low-impact PT session oo-rah, and for the time being I'm not really making any sense. I wish I had a paper to write. The results would be, entertaining. Probably.


I spent the afternoon before the ball this evening rearranging all the furnature in my room. The University obviously had very clear intentions for where our desk and bed and dresser would go, because the outlets for all our appliances are in specific corners - cable here, so your TV should go right here, too. But I think I've found the absolute least efficient use of space here. Nothing is conviniently located any more, and my network cable snakes across the room in front of my closet. I'm happy with it.

The Umpteenth Annual Midshipman Naval Ball was an interesting time. The food was mediocre, the music was awful, but the Lieutennant who came to speak to us made some very good points in an entertaining fashion and only took up fifteen minutes of the evening. I think he's one of the best speakers we've had to sit through, and if I hadn't had a date to worry about I'd have stuck around to chat it up. As a gaggle of bow-tie ridden Mids stepped awkwardly to the Electric Slide on a faux wooden dance floor we joked that if Al-Qaida used the same methods to train it's militia we'd all get along much better. And it's true; nothing brings people together like the shared suffering of a Goofy Dance Step.
I have finally broken through that mad crest of exhaustion that comes after a full night of rock-like sleep. Perhaps because of this rotten Disease I spend more time than most people actively thinking about my health, and several solid hours of sleep every night seems essential to maintain a proper Balance in one's life. But the rest of the kids around me behave like goddamned Vampires, escewing the light of day for the security of night; I would not be surprised if it had something to do with the way low lighting and alcohol at the right levels can make anyone into a Prom Queen. It must be easier to deal with the disappointment of your waking life if at night you can disappear into someone other than yourself.

For the first time in a long, long time however I feel like a creature of the Night. I could go four more hours on this strange rush if I had something worth my time to do, but all there is is this glowing screen and a keyboard that sits innocently in front of it like a doormat that I need to wipe my paws on before entering the house.

I don't know for sure about this girl. It seems like a novel and legitimate enterprise - a cute philosophy major inviting discussion on many topics? My roommates have asked me if there exist in real life versions of the hot/smart idealised women of SitCom stock, and I have answered "yes." I knew two of them in my high school, one a questioning Calvinist, the other too perfect to be real (only she was, and I waited ten years to ask her out. Too late). The third I had the chance to spend the day with, completely by accident, several years ago. She was a friend of my cousin Blaze, who was invited to ride roller coasters at an Amusement Theme Park with myself and my sis Aisling. Blaze and Aisling ran off together, which left me with The Girl. Quite aside from being gorgeous by any measure, she could talk and listen and we did just that for a number of hours that I soon lost track of. The experience was so rare and so right that I have never been sure that it actually happened, and of course I've not seen her again.

At any rate, there's been some speculation that the pictures on Amandas site are really some dudes friend, and he's writing all these posts as a social experiment on nerdy 'net dwellers. Based solely on the responses she's given, I doubt that's true, but there are plenty of effeminant guys out there that could pass for gals if you only heard them speak. Shit, did I spell that correctly? Her site also drives home the fact that in nearly two years I've not gotten a single email about anything I've written here, but this is because I am a social cripple and I have no problems with that. Which should make tomorrow's Naval Ball all the more interesting - did you know that the difference between Dinner Dress Blues and Service Dress Blues is a bow tie? I'm not wearing that thing on a bus...

Also in Navy News, CNET (wait, it's NETC now, which is obviously a better acronym and therefore a better department) has decided that Navy Midshipmen will no longer be required to PT with their unit. No more motivating runs, no more daily sevens led by the senior chief, no more Gunny Fun Days hauling uprooted trees and five-inch mooring lines across a football field. This will be good for those who are Motivated, and bad for those who are Not, because the winners will keep themselves in shape through determination while the floppy ones will turn to fat and fail their next Physical Readiness Test.

Marines, however, are still subject to the whims of the Gunny, and in a sick strange way I'm jealous. The Disease has prevented me from doing much PT with the unit anyways, and we'll still be mustered in the gym at 0600 for whatever sort of activity the company CO's can come up with that doesn't count as "exercise." But some of that shared pain will be missing.

And yes, that was a nice long post. Count it as Content, and move on.


I should be asleep right now. I should be sleeping like the dead, after a day of being drugged up, knocked out, and photographed from the inside by a man in a white smock and striped tie. A fellow midshipman made the claim at drill practice tonight that she had been moving without rest for 41 hours. Only monsters and freaks push themselves that way, and being the former King of Coffee Freaks I know a thing or two about over-stimulating one's body. I fear that switch has turned in me, however, and I am no longer seriously tempted to go to such extremes - perhaps it is because such escapades inevitably cause serious Gastro-Intestinal troubles. I need a Cure, goddammit, but all I can do for now is sleep. So...



I am incapable of lying to myself, which is why I will always tell the Truth. But socially it is impossible to always tell the Whole Truth to others, so we must be selective with how much Truth we tell. I never tell outright fabrications, but if a sin of omission is still a sin, then I will have to lie every day of my life because the truth is too difficult for most people to live with.

If someone asks me for the Whole Truth, I will give it to them freely no matter the circumstances. To do otherwise is unacceptable.


Massive weirdness has gripped the Internet as of late, viruses popping up like toadstools and doing damage to in-boxes across the world. Being A: a Mac user, and B: posessing of various effective anti-spamming tools and techniques ("Hall of Mirrors" and "Dancing Blossom" being the two principle lines of defense for this Mac Kensei), I have been spared any form of heartache. However, my friend Renfield's address seems to be suffering from some malady, for I cannot send him anything.

Which might be for the better. Har har. I'm staring at the away message of one of my fellow midshipmen. It's time for another Pledge Drive, and the frats are really throwing down the booze and carpet to get new plebes in. The message says, "Bid Night... am I good enough?!"

Shit, I always feel guilty for quoting someone I know directly, but this attitude really gets to me. What kind of question is that to ask? What do you think these Clowns are actually bidding on? As a permanent social cripple, I am ill-equipped to understand the How and Why of modern fraternity houses, except that it seems like fun for most people to drink themselves into a stupor five nights a week and live in a nasty house with loud kids on every side of you. Perhaps there's more to it, I don't know. My attitude and personality are totally incompatible with that kind of lifestyle, which is why I happily remain on the fringes of most social circles. Happily? Yes, in the long run.