As for the underway itself, it hasn't been pleasant. The nature of what we're doing has made this time at sea more taxing than most. When added to the normal (and previously mentioned) stresses to which I'm normally subjected, it leads me to want to do little more than sleep. And there's another gianormous stressor looming on the horizon...ORSE. I recall writing in this space long ago that the Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination is nothing less than "total hell" for those of the nuclear-trained persuasion. Few people have it worse than the Logroom Yeoman, who must pull together a veritable cornucopia of administrative data for presentation to the Nuclear Propulsion Examination Board. And since I'm in possession of that lovely collateral duty (one which, I might add, a recent e-mailer called "the worst [such duty] on the boat"), I spend a lot of time wondering how I'm going to make all of this happen. Despite this great expenditure of thought, I have not come to any conclusion - or even any substantive idea - on that front. But I do that it will somehow happen...because there's nobody else who's going to do it. There's simply no way out, and that may be for the best, because it forces me to oppose my standardized tendencies and "man up and rally," as I like to say.
I finished My Custom Van, and have now moved on to Who Killed the Constitution?, a work of a decidedly different bent. It's a sea change to go from absurd comedy to a sober commentary on the state of our founding document.
I've come to a clear-cut fork in the road on the Post-Navy Roadtrip. If I end up going to Stony Brook next fall, I'll defer or ditch the trip; in that instance, it's far more prudent to save my money for the next couple of years, and I'll need to be on Long Island to settle all sorts of stuff. If that came to pass, I'd still likely take a couple of shorter trips; one out to Las Vegas or SoCal comes to mind, as does a roadtrip north to visit J. Raymond in the land of the thoroughbreds. On the other hand, I'll almost certainly green-light the trip if I go directly into the workforce. One of the primary motives for making the journey at all was to tour the majority of the country to get a sense of where I might like to live. If I'm not going to college, that question abso-tively comes back into play.
We're back ashore in the midst of the Democratic National Convention, an event that reminds me of how I'm now committed to voting for McCain in the general election. I alluded to such a stance over four months ago, when I referenced "anything to keep Hillary or Barack from winning." So long as I get my absentee balloting paperwork in (for the last time, mind you), such will be the preference I express.
While the Games of the XXIX Olympiad closed with the U. S. and A. hauling more medals than any other nation, it's a bit unsettling that "March of the Volunteers" was heard more often than "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the medals podiums. While the Chinese undoubtedly benefited from being on their home turf, we still have the most diverse sporting talent in the world. Of course, we won't remember that; we'll instead recall Phelps' eight golds, the world-record triumphs of Jamaica's Usain Bolt, our basketball team's return to glory, and Nastia Liukin's triumph in the women's all-around.
I must close with some "personal-for" notes:
- J. Raymond: I know the lulz are lacking, but you understand, more than anyone else, that it's business.
- e-Scarlet: reading about the Olympics in Stars and Stripes doesn't hold a candle to chatting with you about them while watching live.
- RB: I hope everything is working out on your prospective new path.
- Razzy: I was sad to hear of your Ph.ake doctoring-related troubles. But I know you'll make it work. And when you do, you'll recall the words of a great sage - "what a relief to know that the war is over..."
- And finally, the defining image of the night: the arrival of SafariMaster, clad in his signature hat, pulled up socks, with the "S is for Scram" Oscar the Grouch shirt. A caution to all: he's out of the Navy in six months...