Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shooter, Donnie, & Charlie

Off to Winter Haven. Great seats but a $85 surprise! Plus, we didn't know Mr. Daniels was going to be there. We thought it was just Shooter Jennings (ROCKIN'...and he played Daddy's Farm....AND he threw in a space jam in the middle of it!!) and .38 Special (Donnie Van Zandt). We were sitting pretty close.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Station Dito...not

Not much going on. I am headed to Woburn, MA on Wednesday for 3 days. It looks like our new machine is going to start selling. Good for us, but we'll be busy.

Been doing some lazy work around the yard and did some housework today. I like the place to look nice.

I was thinking back to the good old crazy days when I was 21-35 and smiling. Smiling because, as we all know, God keeps an eye on the fools. I'm sure he had his hands full with me.

We would go out to Barrio Baretta or Subic City in the Philippines and party pretty hard. We could never face a ride back to the ship at the end of it all, so we'd always spring a couple of bucks and flop out in town. Mama-san would always assure us she would give us a wake up and, with the rare exception, she never did. We would wake up 30 minutes before we were to muster, with the ship 40 minutes away. We would throw on our jeans and t-shirts, run out to the road and flag down the first jeepney to come by. Jeepney drivers are shrewd and knew that at 0630 on a weekday morning we were not going to bargain too hard. And of course, they were right. We'd pay triple the normal rate to get on and then we'd tell him to go fast.

About halfway back to base we' begin to realize we were not going to make it, meaning we'd not be allowed to go out tonight, and we'd get a little bit kinda sorta bonkers. We'd be shy of rational thought. We'd be sweating it. So we'd start offering the driver an additional peso for every other jeepney he passed on the way home. I am not sure that we really got to the base all that much quicker, but it did serve to turn an already hair rasing and dangerous mode f transportation into something just shy of a train wreck. Yessiree Bob, those were some white knuckle rides.

Towards the end of one of them, we had made it onto base and were headed out to Boton Piers where we were docked, when we saw the Weapons Department Leiutenant walking alongside the road in a ball cap, flip flops, and tighty whitey briefs. I'm guessing due to an encounter with mojo (the local jungle juice) and a less than trustworthy young woman, although we never bothered to ask. We had the driver stop and we asked if he wanted a ride. he said, "I don't have any money." We laughed, "No shit! Get in LT, we'll get you back." Hey, it's not like we hadn't all been there... at least once.

A nice segueue story for the first video, as it turns out.

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, out
Ramblin' Ed

Little Head

5 6 7 8's - I'm Blue

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Flying into Los Angeles

Bringing in a couple of keys
don't check my bag if you please
Mr. Customs man.... for those of you who remember Arlo Guthrie

So, as the title suggests, I quite unexpectedly find myself in L.A. El Segundo, to be exact. I expected to be in Tampa, gardening and taking life easy, but a single call on Wednesday night changed all that. And what crappy seats did I end up with. A last minute booking at a time when American Airlines was grounding hundreds and thousands of flights a day, whoo boy, it was a rough one.

10 interesting (or not) things you didn't know about me. I am feeling a bit confessional (and stopped up) from eating a whole can of Fritos Jalepeno Cheese Dip and most of a bag of potato chips last night while watching "Bring it On, In It To Win It".

1. That's right I have seen all of the "Bring it On movies. I watched the first one thrice (that means 3 times).
2. I seldom, if ever, drive faster than 60 MPH, even if the speed limit is higher.
3. I eventually quit trying to keep up with software and technology and can no longer do anything but the most basic functions with my cell phone.
4. I let my wife drive me most places. She, by the way, seldom, if ever, drives slower than 60 MPH, even if the speed limit is lower.... much lower.
5. I marvel that I am not grayer of the head.
6. I usually don't carry any money and don't care. The wife gives me $20 here and $40 there, but I usually carry that around for while when she does. As long as I can debit card some gas once a week, I'm happy.
7. I can usually get someone to do what I want them to without asking them directly.
8. I am socially capable and am told I am entertaining to be around, but all things being equal, I'd rather be in a quiet place alone.
9. I support the troops as much as anybody, but cannot stand the few that think if they mention that they are active duty you kinda owe them something extra. (Hopefully you've encountered these people or else I come off sounding pissy like Andy Rooney)
10. I am a pretty ethical guy. No, really, I am. And I would do anything for a friend, as long as it wasn't illegal or immoral. Although, I suppose I could be persuaded by a strong case to bend the part about illegal. Or the part about immoral. But only for a friend. With a compelling case. And I'd feel bad about it. Mostly.

This is the time of year to get things done. I say DONE, dammit! Football seqason has not started and college basketball season is over. Not a fan of the boys of summer, so I am one accomplishing dude in the summer. And tanned, too. With no regard for the neighbors' sensibilities, I work shirtless and shoeless. I am of a golden brown hue and dirty feeted. yes, although I can purty up nice, I tend to embrace my inner redneck.

My part for Anglo-American relations seems to consist of teaching Stephen from the UK to say y'all. And, to my utter surprise, to accidentally sell him on the idea of PFM as a general use term. We were talking about the programmable logic controller and it's relationship with a different piece of equipment used by the airlines and not under our control, when he started asking how the other piece of equipment performed a particular decision making function. "Uh, Ed. 'Ow duz the MPLC actually do that?" "PFM." ""Whut??" "PFM." "Whut's that?" "Pure Magic." "Well then, whut's the.... oh. That's right cool, isn't it?" Apparently he pressed that into service as his American slang.

Off to see Shooter Jennings on the 20th. First concert in I can't remember when. The last concert I seriously considered was American Idols on tour when they came to Tampa, but decided that while it was OK to watch them on TV, I shouldn't be standing in line with a bunch of preteen girls. Just don't look right. Shooter will be with .38 Special, if you remember them. They might be OK, but I more expect them to be cliched and mediocre. Unless he tones it down a lot for the tourist crowd (it's at Cypress Gardens), and he probably will tone it down to a point, It should be rockin'. I don't expect he'll sing Daddy's Farm, although I'm ure some of the kids in the audience will grow up to be cop killers, with or without inspiration from Shooter. I'll report back.

Some more navy slang to see y'all out. Today, brought to you by the letters U and V:

UA: Unauthorized absence up to 30 days
Uncle Sam's Confused Group (USCG): the United States Coast Guard - an organization that is the fifth armed service, yet falls under the Dept of Homeland Security, and operates generally small ships, boats, and aircraft that have limited warfighting capability.
Uncle Sam's Misguided Children (USMC): The United States Marine Corps
Underway Sock: (Submarine Service) A soft sock brought underway to comfort a frustrated submariner.
Un-F**k: to correct something that is screwed up. (Ex. Go un-f**k your gig line, Seaman Schmuckatelli.)
UNREP: UNderway REPlenishment - Taking supplies from the supply ship by maneuvering alongside and passing lines between the two vessels. Differs from "VERTREP."
USS Backyard: Term for the sailor's home of record, to which he or she happily returns upon discharge.
USS LASTSHIP: Term for sailors trying to tell a story, or giving an example of how business was handled at their last command
USS Neverdock: Ship that seems to stay out at sea for unusually long periods of time. For sailors, this is usually their own ship. (This seemed to always be my ship -Ed)
USS Neversail: Mock-up ship found in boot camp, also called USS Recruit. Can also refer to real ships that seldom leave port, such as Sub-tenders.
USS Nottagain (DD 214): Used by sailors separating from the Navy when asked which command they are going to. Also can be used by former sailors when visiting old friends and asked by new personnel which ship they are on. "DD 214" is the form that must be filled out for a military member to get discharged.
Vampire: Inbound missile to the ship. Typically announced over the 1MC, shortly followed by relative location (i.e. port quarter, starboard bow, etc.), and "all hands, brace for shock." (As a missile fire controlman, I used this term a lot - Ed)
Vampire Liberty: Getting the day off for donating a pint of blood.
VERTREP: VERTical REPlenishment - taking supplies from the supply ship via helo pick up and drop off. Back in the day this was most often accomplished by the mighty CH-46 Sea Knight (see "Phrog"), although any aircraft with a cargo hook installed can do it. Differs from UNREP (see above).
Very well: Senior to subordinate acknowledgement.
Virtual Liberty: The idea that a sailor could walk off the ship and, instead of going into town, step on his crank, throw his wallet into the water and hit himself over the head with a blunt object. The result would be waking up on the pier the next morning with an aching crotch, no money, a serious headache and the inability to remember anything from the previous night; just like actual liberty.
Vitamin M: Similar to Corpsman Candy above, but in this context relating to Motrin (Ibuprofen), which is occasionally used to combat the various aches/pains/headaches associated with military service. Applied as a panacea for any illness. Does not refer to real vitamin M (folic acid).
Voluntold: When a sailor is volunteered into a collateral duty by his superior. "I need a volunteer, you over there!"
Vulcan Death Watch: A long evaluation or training drill onboard a submarine. It normally goes on for hours with no clear ending point.

(Am I the onluy one who seems to lose all rational formatting everytime a picture is added in blogger, or does it happen to some of you also?)

Pointless to a fault, out
Ramblin' Ed


Thursday, April 03, 2008

A muse amused

OK, I said I was going to write about one thing and it became another. No never mind to me, the words were coming easy and I like the way they fell together.

Murmur 3 April, 2008

If I could find back
Stolen moments
I gave to you those days
When life was just simple
And I was so easy in my ways

When you were beside me smiling
For reasons we never knew
And how could we care less
Just me and you

So how’s it work now
Life comes crashing
Behind us like a beast
To skitter me this way
And scatter you that way, like the breeze

You were still with me smiling
It’s likely that you never knew
Right beside as I rambled
Just out of view

You have your stories
You hint about them
I have my stories too
I tell them in pieces
Arrange them in patterns that I choose

Yeah, I stack ‘em then knock ‘em over
I grind them beneath my shoe
Sometimes color them brightly
Sometimes strangle them blue

If I could find back
Sweet stolen moments
I gave to you those days
When youth gave us courage
Unable…unwilling…not needing to feel any pain

When you were beside me smiling
Two idiots in the rain
Washing over us gently
And washing us clean

I’ve seen the shadows
Shifting, shapeless
Like dancers with no spark
There’s nearly a beauty
But lost as they fumble their way through the dark

I hear you in their murmur
I see me in their wisp
I’d call their bluff but I’m certain
They’d die in a kiss

I hear you in their murmur
A murmur becomes a hisssssss
Snake becoming the charmer
Dies in a kiss

Brandon, FL

Hopefully y'all have the stomach for another one. This is my own hand at down home southern gothic. Or it might be. Must admit I'm not entirely clear on the whole gothic concept. Better yet, chalk this one up to spanish moss and rough relationships.

Uncoiled 4 April, 2008

How you been? You didn’t answer
It’s been a while, you never called me back
I know the message that I left was kind of rambling
I sometimes get off track

Now through some thinking… a bit drinking
I’d say I’ve taken it like a man
Taken stock if not so much some kind of action
But you know how I am

I guess what you seen in me
was like a truthful contradiction
So much good inside me,
without a clue on how to share
All you thought you needed
got wrapped up in what I didn’t
I suppose that inattention
doesn’t really say “I care”

Are you good? And how’s your mama?
Does she still believe that I’m your best mistake?
Yeah, I do believe that woman always liked me
Despite the give and take

I watch the tube, it’s really good now
I especially like to hear them Idols sing
I’ve found that any show that has a lot of dancing
Puts my mind at ease

What I don’t understand good
Is that if we wasn’t happy
Well how did that just simmer?
Seem the kind of thing would boil
So what I think I’m seeing
And correct my understanding
Not a spiral of unhappiness
As much as love just come uncoiled

So how you been now? I need an answer
Been a while and you ain’t never called me back
I know the path that brung us here was not a straight one
But I always get off track

St. Petersburg, FL