September 20th, 2008

christmas 2008

I'd like to extend to you an invitation... an underwater pants party. No? Will you settle for another report from the undersea realm?

We've done...whatever we came to do, in...wherever we went to do it. And now we're homeward bound once again. As you might imagine, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy plays on the large screen here on the mess deck of the Submersible Death Trap. A few hours ago, the captain gave a brief green light for smoking throughout the ship, in recognition of our completing the objectives with which we'd been tasked. I was thoroughly opposed to this. I've never used a tobacco product in my life, and I find the odor of secondhand smoke particularly foul. Given that we're submerged and contained, we should defer to the non-smokers on this one, as there's no alternative for those of us who abhor smoke. I was lucky to be in the box with fellow non-smokers, so I wasn't directly subjected to the undesirable fumes. I normally don't have a problem with places like bars and restaurants allowing smoking within their premises; in fact, I oppose local laws that prevent their doing so. The basis is simple: It's not a question of public health, but instead one of property rights. Each proprietor (in consultation with respective landlords, where applicable) should be able to decide the issue without interference from the government, which should not be trying to dictate morality to the public (and that's exactly what smoking bans do). Such policies benefit everybody by allowing for greater choice; everybody can gravitate to places that cater to their desires. It's the libertarian way, and as usual, it's the best option.

Taking a completely different tack, I'll be taking the E-6 advancement exam in a few hours. This is effectively the only chance I have to advance another pay grade prior to departing the Seagoing Military Force. There'll be another exam next March, but the results won't be released before I get out. I'm confident I'll pull the score I need to advance; the Navy's continual undermanning in the nuclear rates makes it nearly a given. I wrote a bit about this six months ago, and I'm very excited to take my shot at, most importantly, making more money. (As I recall, about four hundred extra dollars per month.) Yeah, there's a whole bit about greater responsibility and setting an example, but honestly? Whatever. Everybody in the command knows how I feel about the Navy, its submarines, and this one in particular. And...the whole world also knows how I roll; I speak from here on high on those topics perhaps more frequently than any others. I've often thought of what it'll be like in the early days of next year, as I sit at a First Class Petty Officers' Association meeting:

Some PO1 who gives a damn: So, Petty Officer Carberry, what do you think we need to do to raise our standards and professionalism?
Carbs: (Laughter. Actually, it'll likely be closer to outright cackling.)

Another 19th has come and less than eight months left. A fleeting smile as the marker is passed, followed by a grimace at what follows in the short-term...
christmas 2008

a Lee Corso edition this evening...

...not so fast, my friends!

Just before the E-6 exam was slated to be given, I - and everyone else - was told it would not be. For one, it had been more than ten days since the Navy-wide sitting (that was September 4). For two, we'd pulled in since then, to the test could have been compromised. The Submersible Death Trap is promising that the makeup exam will be made available to us; for a lot of people's sake, I hope that it's so. Like I said in the wee hours of this morning, the Fall 2008 advancement test is the only one where I have a realistic chance of making it before I get out. If I can't even take the test, it would be a douchebagging to overshadow every other I've encountered in my time in this job. That would be effectively discrimination based on operational tempo; undoubtedly, it'd be firm grounds for some kind of grievance. Not that such a thing would work. Of course, that's very much idle speculation; maybe the boat will come up with the exams, we'll take them, and I'll be a bona fide ET1(SS) in short order.

Fortunately, the "not so fast" works in the other direction as well. LevelSeventy qualified Shutdown Reactor Operator this afternoon, which makes us able to go to four section duty during the next in-port period. This lines me up for a fully duty-free weekend, the first in nearly two years. I expect to leave the boat Friday afternoon and not return until Monday morning; for the majority of my time on board, I've needed special liberty or leave to accomplish that. I don't anticipate a trip to my ancestral home. But being below the sea, I have no idea what might be happening on Long Island next weekend. Hell, my plan could easily change should I find out that Kristen and the Noise are making a visit, or Ready In 10 have a show lined up. That would be a very nice happy time explosion.