Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Ranch

So, it has been two weeks of "flash flood watch" for, well, most of this state. The temperature has been downright winter-like, if you consider 68F winter, which is pretty close to the truth here, but I digress, this isn't about the weather, this is about my trip to my Dad's ranch this weekend.

The Ranch, which is located about 25 miles south of Tucumcari, NM, has been dry as a bone this year, as well as last year. Most of the people around there don't remember when it was ever drier in that area (hint, it was the dust bowl), but the drought has been pretty bad. I think it is over.

I got to the ranch on Friday, after they recieved 3" of rain, filling up a lot of dirt tanks and muddying up the road. The whole way, all 6 hours of driving, the grass was green, and I saw several herds of antilope, the first I had seen so many since I was about 9. All of the cattle seemed to be pretty happy about the rain and the cool weather, since they were pretty frisky and eating as much of the green grassy stubble as they could get into their mouth.

Well, come Saturday, I woke up to a nice drizzle, which is very rare in NM. Dad and I went to the part of the ranch located on the mesa (which they live at the base) to see their "lake". Turns out that about 25 acres of the ranch is covered with water, making a small lake that is about 15' deep in the middle!!!

They were pretty happy about it, the fact that they aren't going to burn up in a fire caused by a random lightening strike, so I am happy for them. I really wish I could spend more time up there, since I am sure they need help with random crap (building fence, ripping those damn cacti out of the ground, etc.), but I don't have the time to go up there, not now, but hey, that is the price I pay to become an Engineer.

Along those lines, school starts this Thrusday, and I am looking foward to it. I am not looking foward to some of the dumb-asses that I have to put up with in those classes, but definatly looking foward to the classes themselves, which can be interesting, if a little easy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

105 Reasons Why...

Here is a beautiful sunset taken by one of my friends while we were on Guam...Bryan or Bryan.

I know that this has been circulating around the internet for a while, and I am sure that the dude who wrote it didn't get any credit for it. So, if you ever stumble across my humble blog, thank you for making me laugh, this is a great list.

And, it is so true. Who hasn't thought some (many) of these thoughts when they were in the middle of an ORSE, or during an all night hydro that just won't go right? I know I have.

105 Reasons why McDonalds is better than Submarines
  1. No McORSE.
  2. If you have to take a piss, you can go take a piss. No questions asked.
  3. You'll never have to go port and starboard on the fryer.
  4. Better pay.
  5. The sun.
  6. Air.
  7. The boxes of food at McDonald's aren't stamped "Rejected by Hardee's" or "Not fit for human consumption".
  8. The ability to call in sick.
  9. The ability to quit.
  10. McDonald's doesn't get their uniforms from the same company as the state penitentiary.
  11. McDonald's doesn't deploy.
  12. They have actual janitors, and they use mops, not sponges.
  13. No McDrills.
  14. The grill breaks, you CALL someone to fix it.
  15. At least your boss accepts that he's a clown.
  16. No McResin Discharge.
  17. No all night hydro on the fryer.
  18. One word: Overtime.
  19. Every day is slider day!
  20. At McDonald's, you will never, EVER, worry about being put in prison for ten years because you told your wife what the secret sauce is.
  21. They pay you for training.
  22. You'll never die a horrible, excruciating death from the crush depth implosion of a McDonald's.
  23. No steam piping.
  24. No time at McDonald's will you hear your boss give a thirty minute dissertation over the 1MC on the importance of being at the register 5 minutes early.
  25. They won't ask you about Taco Bell operations on the advancement test.
  26. You get to leave work EVERY day at the end.
  27. McDonald's will eventually fire the really stupid employees.
  28. Two words: Happy Meals.
  29. McDonald's doesn't look like a big black turd.
  30. Grimace don't do Vulcan Death Watches.
  31. McDonald's has a slide out back.
  32. To do something at McDonald's, you look at the color coded chart, not OP umpty-squat, chapter whatever, reference 3, ACN B, rev 17.
  33. If McDonald's catches fire, you LEAVE.
  34. No McSmall Valve Maintenance.
  35. No McCOB.
  36. Leaving McDonald's in an emergency doesn't require a Steinke hood and a lot of praying.
  37. The coffee's better.
  38. Someone else makes the water.
  39. You don't have to live there to work there.
  40. The only cones come from the ice cream machine.
  41. McDonald's doesn't go into dry-dock (again and again).
  42. ALL the tests are multiple choice.
  43. Their TV commercials are a lot cooler.
  44. Three words: Sea Foam Green.
  45. Stock in McDonald's is worth something. The Navy is a part of an operation that is 6 trillion dollars in the hole.
  46. Special sauce isn't "hand made".
  47. No McBilges to clean.
  48. Opening for business doesn't require a full day of preparations and everyone to show up for a brief at 0230.
  49. Three words: Stupid ass hats.
  50. Personnel inspection requirements are written on the door (No shirt, no shoes, no service).
  51. At McDonald's, dislocating your shoulder is not considered getting the good deal.
  52. McDonald's never had an accident that cause a person to be stuck to the ceiling impaled on a french fry.
  53. Because you deserve a break today.
  54. Even the little Hamburglar is cooler than a goat.
  55. Mayor McCheese doesn't wield a righteous thumb of indignation.
  56. You can choose which McDonald's you want to work at.
  57. If you want to buy your boss a beer, that's okay.
  58. If you want to tell your boss to fuck off and just die fucking die, that's okay too.
  59. There is no Uniform Code of McDonald's Justice to deal with.
  60. The news comes from USA Today, not Ric Crawford, GS-12.
  61. No one will rack you out at 0200 to start the grill.
  62. Chances of you getting called back after you get off work are pretty damn slim.
  63. Putting the pickle on the hamburger doesn't require an QA-34 and a signature to be used against you in a court of law, should they want you.
  64. The only guy in a silly yellow suit is Ronald.
  65. How many McDonald's were sunk in World War II?
  66. Fixing the register doesn't require a rubber room and a rope man.
  67. Nothing on the menu contains the phrases, "Horse cock" or "Baboon ass".
  68. At McDonald's, the riders would have to leave at closing time.
  69. $2.99 is a meal price, not a daily wage at McDonald's.
  70. You don't have to go single register operations if someone spills a Coke.
  71. McDonald's doesn't require a 24 hour Shutdown Register Operator and McRoving Watch.
  72. McDonald's doesn't call your house at 0530 in the morning blaring some god-awful antiquated song about a bugler just to wake you up.
  73. No McRadcon.
  74. There is never any verdigris in the pookah at McDonald's.
  75. At McDonald's, your boss will never make you drive him around for two and a half months so he can spy on Wendy's.
  76. You will never be locked in for 24 hours pretending to operate everything (no McFastcruise).
  77. You don't have to come in to work at 0700 only to wait around for an hour waiting for your boss to tell you things you already know.
  78. At McDonald's you will never hear, "Shake machine troubleshooting team, and all off watch drinkmakers, lay aft."
  79. No McGMT.
  80. At McDonald's you don't have to route a 1250 for a new stack of cups.
  81. If you burn a hamburger they won't take away half a month's pay for two months and restrict you to the playground.
  82. Knowledge of the material of construction and variable operating characteristics of the grill are not prerequisites for operation.
  83. You don't have to take apart the shake machine once a quarter just because.
  84. You don't have to share your bed with two coworkers.
  85. You don't have to shave off your goatee when the district manager comes.
  86. At McDonald's, when the toilet clogs, you don't rig pressurized air to the shitter.
  87. You don't have to shut everything off and call in the last shift to start the grill.
  88. Early in the morning, you don't cycle the drink machine on and off just for practice.
  89. You scrub the floors because it's dirty, not because it's Wednesday.
  90. There is almost always plenty of parking. If not, drive through.
  91. Don't like what you got? Take it back.
  92. You don't have to take a turbidity prior to putting a new catsup dispenser on service.
  93. Failure of the warming oven door to open is not a panic causing event. It will also not preclude you from starting another fryer or pulling the fries out of the vat due to interlock.
  94. No McHPACs.
  95. No one hates it so bad they refer to it simply as "The Mac".
  96. No 16 hour days at McDonald's prototype making burgers in the middle of the desert for no one.
  97. If you wipe up a catsup spill at McDonald's, you don't have to let it dry before you throw it away.
  98. They won't secure one of the register operators to keep track of the people going into Burger King.
  99. You don't have to have permission from the Manager, Assistant Manager, and Register Operator before going into the freezer.
  100. At McDonald's, the toilet paper stays in the bathroom, not on the dinner table.
  101. You don't need high voltage gloves, a rubber room, and a rope man to change out the heat lamp.
  102. No McOI-55.
  103. They don't make their french fries from a Play-Doh press.
  104. At McDonald's, management doesn't change the time zone in the middle of your shift, trying to trick you into working extra hours.
  105. All of the articles of the Constitution apply to you at McDonald's.

Monday, August 14, 2006

What is Wrong With Education?

Well, if the previous post wasn't long enough, here is another one. I guess I should write about the state of the kids coming out of high school in this nation...well, mostly NM, but also everywhere else in this fair nation of ours.

I took Freshman English last semester, and while I didn't think that it would be hard, I was surprised at how easy it was. I was the only Eng major in my class, the rest being...get this...primary education majors, with a few nursing and psych majors. Now, I know that teaching is an important vocation, and that teachers are very important to society as a whole, and that we should respect them for what they do, but give me a break, a lot of them that I see coming through the colleges are useless wastes of flesh!!!

In said english class, most of the people were young, 18-ish, with a few older folks in it, me being in the middle (not in my 50's, but not a baby barely able to vote and unable to drink). A vast majority of the people could not read. No, they were not illiterate, but they were pretty damn close...they could read, but didn't have much of a vocab, and comprehension was a joke...and these people want to teach my kids (if/when I have some) to read!!! I don't understand.

Well, actually, I do. Say what you will about President Bush and no child left behind (written by Teddy Kennedy, D-Mass), but this problem did not start after Jan, 2001. It started many many years ago, when these kids were in elementry/middle school, sometime in the '90's (not blaming Clinton either). But, knowing what I know from the Nuke power pipeline, and what passes for knowledge in some of these college courses, it is evident that the school system is failing, and passing the buck on to higher education, like my wonderful University, as well as the Navy Nuclear Pipeline, or to the workforce. What will this do to production in the future (I have allready seen it in the Navy, with some people coming in, expecting the division to hand them everything on a silver platter like they got in power school, high school, and from mommy and daddy), what will this do to our job force when these people are handling money at banks (and can't do math), when they are writing tech manuals (when they can't form a coherient sentence), when they are putting together a multi-billion dollar submarine (when they can't read the documents)?

I don't want to toot my own horn, but I am smarter than the average bear, and I know that I will be well employed in the future, especially with this dumbing down of so many people coming out of the education system, but a small handfull of people can't do everything. That is why I loved training on the boat, I wouldn't do everything anymore (to those of you from M-div on San Fran, you know who I am talking about during the 2002/2003 timeframe, especially during the dark summer of 2003 before it started getting better (hemp-nuts, dorksen, donut, and lets be honest, all of those random DINQ coners that couldn't handle it BEFORE we ran into a damn mountian)). Sometimes, I think that I am going in the wrong direction, getting an Aerospace Eng degree, I should go into education...but my calling is Engineering, and one man can't fix the system (despite what all of those skimmer fags that went to prototype while I was a SPU there, trying to "fix the system" allthough they didn't know shit from shinola on a submarine prototype, and finally learned it just in time to go back to the "Big E"). I will get my degree, despite how easy it really is, and how dumbed down too many of the classes are, go to a (hopefully) private Aerospace firm and change the world for better (see Moon Midgets).

School countdown

So, here I am, getting ready for my 4th semester of college (well, 3rd, unless you count taking Calc II during the summer I session a semester) and I am so looking foward to it. There is always some dumbass in at least one (usually more) of my classes that just doesn't get it. What is it that this person doesn't get? Well, sometimes the material, but I don't rag on those people, I know that "the stupid shall be punished, and the truly stupid shall die" but I like to help those people, at least get over the initial shock of not being coddled by the nanny state that modern American education has created (that will be a whole other post). I like to rag on the know-it-alls that don't know when to shut their freaking mouth.

Take my first chemistry class last fall. I know, a nuke taking college chemistry, what the hell is that all about, couldn't I just get credit for it through my smart transcript. I thought so, but this college (at least the ME/AE college) doesn't know what to give me, even though I have tried, I guess that they just want to money from me (by the way, 8% tuition increase this semester, and most likely more next semester). Anyway, this chick, I call her SKELETOR, was pretty smart, in that super skinny, vegan, hippy chick sort of way. She knew a lot of stuff (aparently other states are better than NM at high school chemistry), but she also new a lot of stuff that just wasn't true (liberals, gotta love them).

I had so much fun in that class, mainly because she was wrong so many times, but she thought that she was right, and she just wouldn't shut up about it. She would argue with the instructors (who had Ph.D. in chemistry) about the dumbest things, most of which escapes me (maybe I should start writing stuff down, but the 19 year old girls that sit near me were too distracting).

Let me just say that I am looking foward to this semester, allthough I will be in mostly Engineering classes, with Calc III, Eng Physics, and technical writing (why the hell am I taking tech writing, I can write a package, hell, I can write in RPM language, given enough incentive). I will make a prediction, that in Calc III, Physics, and definatly tech writing, I will run into some wonderfully stupid people, and my mission will be to point out the stupidity every chance I get.

I guess that is a product of sitting through training sessions, first as a SPU at S8G, and then on the San Francisco. I stay away from pointing out stupidity of the lecturers (they are in control of my grades), but everyone else is fair game. I love it, this is what makes college so wonderful, well, that and the girls. Southern NM is a great place of short shorts and tank tops...too bad that the whales wear them also, but I just screen them out of my vision when the come into view.

Oh, and another thing that I really like about this university. It is primarily an Ag/Eng college, so that means that it is mostly conservative, no kooks (well, not many) running around campus, the hotties that don't wear short shorts usually wear ropers, drive a giant truck, and own a horse...gotta love it!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Shit-storm 2002

Back in the day, when the San Francisco was heading from Norfolk to our new home in Guam, we had a little mishap. We were a few days out of Hawaii in early December, and I had just hit the rack after some long, hard time of working in the ER, you know, the usual nuke MM's job of doing some random crap that needed to be done (I think it was helping the new "MMC" who was an MM1 ELT because we lost our MMC in San Diego due to kidney stones, get into the job). By the way, being the only one of a few experienced mechanics on a boat first thing out of the yards really sucks, but that is a different story about how half of M-Div deserted us right after the boat left the yards.

So, there I was, in the rack, I had just passed out, when one of the ELT's that slept below me woke me up.

"Ben, get up, they just called away flooding"
I didn't hear the alarm the first time, I was out of it, but the second time, I heard it. I was out of the rack and putting on my poopie suit when the I heard the announcement...

"Flooding in the Galley"

Now, I ask you, how the hell can we have flooding in the galley? I asked the ELT next to me, and he said that it was pretty much impossible (well, it could happen, but that would involve much more than a busted pipe).

Then, this announcement came:

"there is no flooding in the galley"

Whew, what a relief...oh, wait, what is that horrible smell??

The smell had found its way into Fwd Bearthing, and right then I knew, there was no flooding in the galley (I guess the CSC didn't understand the galley as much as he should have). There was just the little issue of one of the Sanitary tanks being blown into the galley...oops, bad valve lineup.

I decided that, since I was oncoming, and I hadn't slept in over 30 hours, that I would let the offgoing watch section handle it and hit the rack (being unqualified, but a fairly new second class on the boat (damn SPUs) gave me some leeway).

Turns out that, while blowing sanitaries, the AOW lined up to blow the tank into the galley San tank, thus blowing two whole sanitary tanks directly into the galley.

When I woke up for watch, there was no chow (several thousands of dollars worth of food were ruined, since the cooks were preparing the meal at the time), but the smell in the Fwd compartment was horrible! I went to the ER, and started hearing all of the reports from my little nuke spies that were there (my U/I in the section had to wake up to help clean because the douchebag had gone to bed right after our last watch while I was busy fixing some stupid bullshit, probably training, or maybe some maintinance that some idiot messed up). Turns out that there was a river of shit, flowing from the galley, down to the AMR and LL head. I could do nothing but laugh my ass off (at him) because he had to help clean the river Styx up!! Ha.

I wrote a little article about it, dubbing it Shit-Storm 2002, in our M-Div Pass Down Log, which I had adopted as a serious form of record keeping for future M-Divers on that beautiful sub, but unfortanuatly, some poodle haired douchebag did away with it while we were in dry-dock after the collision. It had many, many years of entries in it, such as the Shit Storm episode, survival in the strip clubs in Guam, what to do in case some idiot breaks a valve lapping tool in an HPD, and why the hell did I have to fix it...isn't there any other M-Div dude who can lap a freakin' valve? Oh well, I will lament on the loss of that book until the day I die, because it was the recent history of the M-div of the best boat in the fleet, complete with odes and tributes to our lost shipmate.

To whomever took that book, if you still have it, I want it...if you destroyed it because of the things that people wrote in there about you, well, then, all I can say is that I forgive you for taking away a great history, and hopefully, if the San Fran ever goes out to sea again, that M-div will start a new PDL, and keep the tradition going for as long as she is out to sea.