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.

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