Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hooray for Diversity

I was informed this week that DESRON had nominated me for the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) Military Meritorious Service Award. It was quite an honor, however I found out that I am not eligible due to my Irish/Scottish/Norweigian/Swedish heritage. Turns out OPNAV had me down as an Asian Pacific Islander.

January and February are the time of year when we celebrate everybudy's culture, it seems. Except mine, of course. Heck, I even watched the first part of the Ocsars tonight when Ellen Degeneres was pointing out how diverse the nominees are and ended with Steve Carrell - at which point everyone laughed. What? I don't get it.

Then I turned off the TV when I found out Al Gore had been nominated. A) Hollywood has no shame and B) I am really out of touch, aren't I? Maybe I'll take the month of March and just absorb enough pop culture and current events to get me through the deployment. Or perhaps I'll teach my son to walk and cuddle with my wife... hmm, I don't know...

But my point, and I do have one, is that it seems to me that there is irony in the fact that many forces, particularly in the entertainment media, have been pushing a predisposition toward inclusiveness upon you and me while simultaneously excluding any fair-skinned folk. Additionally, people are selected for inclusion based upon only their physical traits and not the quality of their character or level of skill or pick your own vastly more reasonable criteria.

Irksome, to be sure, but barely twitching the needle on the Vexometer. My problem lies in social interaction with people who aren't completely ambivalent and expect others to walk around on eggshells because they are __________ (fill in your favorite conversation crippling social construct). I was trying to get inspection preparations done this week and lost a bunch of people to and "African-American heritage program", so I couldn't get anything done. Annoyed, I referred to the program as "crap", wondering if anyone else had their priorities straight. The sailor that I was talking to later approached me and said I might want to be more careful, since there are people on my ship would cry racism at the drop of a hat.

I don't care what color your skin is, which chromosome your father gave you or which boat your ancestors sailed here on, folks. Be a productive person and achieve your goals. There's nothing diverse about diversity.

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10 hours to INSURV and my mind is racing. Thing is, we're in pretty darn good shape, if you ask me. we've been working on material readiness for over a year and had the cleanliness push over the last eight weeks. I only had to bring Engineering department in for one weekend and then just Saturday. I feel like I can take the beating.

This is my third one, but I've never been a CHENG for one. It won't be fun, but this too shall pass. Hope I didn't miss anything.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007


I always get those pre-game nerves. Fear of failure. Performance anxiety. Saturday before the big inspection, I think we're as ready as we're going to get.

Of course, it always seems like something comes up last minute. Something breaks and you have to borrow some parts from a buddy on another ship to make a critical piece of equipment work. Or maybe you have a fire. Not that any of that happened, of course.

Yeah, I've been having a great day. Usually the disasters don't start until the inspectors are on the ship.

I have duty today, which is good because I had to have the whole department here anyway, for the final push. Most ships preparing for INSURV have to work nights and weekends for at least a month to get things ready. I feel pretty confident in our level of preparedness since we've been working on this since 14 months ago (six months before I reported, MPA and I were already plotting our plan of attack). Are we going to knock it our of the park? I don't know, but I think I'll get through it and still be the Engineer in March.

I am currently covered in dirt and oil and who knows what else from climbing around in bilges the last two days and am looking forward to a long hot shower tonight. I have to keep walking around because on top of getting Engineering ready, I'm the Command Duty Officer and have to ensure the rest of the ship has its act together.

So I've essentially been walking around the ship all day pointing out what's wrong and making people fix it. It's good to be in charge, I guess.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

American Dreamz

("Dreamz with a 'Z'"!)

After living in it for seven months, Red and I are finally moving into our house. What I mean to say is that we've been living in it, but we started doing that a little over a week before the last deployment and all our stuff was eventually delivered two days before I left for six months. We couldn't move a lot of it in because it had been destroyed ($4000-$5000 worth of damage) and had to wait for it to be assessed, the rest was due to Red single-momming it with a newborn baby while I was away. End result, most of our stuff is either in boxes in the garage or unpacked and piled up on horizontal surfaces.

So once we got back from Minnesota for the holidays, we began trying to get the place straightened up, slowed by the packing up of Christmas ornaments. I finally got a bunch of plywood up in the attic space above the garage for a floor (it was just bare sheet rock and I couldn't put anything up there. Now I can put all kinds of junk up there and forget about it.

Then we bought a boat storage rack. I thought I'd just build one out of two-by-fours that I could attach my existing roof racks to. Brilliant, right? No! Red needed to have something that looks nice, so we shelled out for a Yakima Ground Control Unit online. It's not bad - frankly, the way my projects go, it would've probably cost just as much or more, with tools and time spent. But there's a difference in satisfaction level between building and assembling.

The directions on this thing threw me because it says unless your studs are 32 inches apart, you have to buy a Universal Mounting thing. Well, I was convinced after having done my work in the attic that my studs were less than 32 inches apart, so we stopped midway through assembly to price those ($32 each), but we couldn't figure out how many we'd need. So I told Red, "I can mount it to a couple of two-by-fours..." at which point she got upset and stormed in the house saying she didn't want it to look like a piece of crap.

It's a garage for cryin' out loud! I told her, look, I'll paint them, let me finish. So, I painted them, mounted them to the wall, and finished assembling the rack, at which point we discovered our stud were indeed 32 inches apart and that the rack sticks out too far to make enough room for more than one car anyway, which pretty much defeats the purpose of doing all that in the first place. I could've done it with some lumber or chains and rubber hose hanging from the ceiling. Maybe next time common sense will prevail.

Saturday, after Jack went to bed around 8:00, we started laying tile in the new sunroom. I also spent all day Sunday doing it as well, missing the entire first half of the Super Bowl and the only halftime show I've had any interest in for years (Prince is awesome!) It looks great, though, and gives me much more satisfaction and pleasure than watching the Bears blow it. (I'm a Vikings fan.)

I am extremely sore today, and have no idea when we'll be able to grout it what with underway days and INSURV and company in town for Jack's baptism on the ship, but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

I'm sure there's something productive to do... better get to it.

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