28 July 2006


Milo, our cat, has been with us since before we were married.  We got him as a wee kitten, and at that time he was adorable.  Granted, he does not play with blankets or do anything set to music, but he was ours.  Ah, but then his poor genetics kicked in, and some really awful physical defects changed him from a cute little kitten into:

The Cat Who is Dead Inside

But at least he got his 15 seconds of fame out of it.  (And yes, the “Health and Happiness” tiki is something we picked up in Hawaii a while back…)

27 July 2006

Separated at Birth?

Go figure, with gas prices skipping merrily past $3/gallon, Exxon posts massive profits again. Not that they can do anything about it, oh no.

Just a thought, though, doesn’t this guy:

Look a lot like this guy?

Just sayin’.

26 July 2006

His buttocks are so firm!

I love the Aussies.  Really, truly I do.

They would discover the best, and funniest, way to deal with the execrable Fred Phelps.  Someone should get a camera crew and try and do this everywhere he tries to go.  Worst case, they assault you, and you have a hell of a lawsuit.  Wheee.

(H/T Fark Videos)

A Bleg

Update: Yeah, I moved it to the top. Really, please, any thoughts, please leave them. Looking for any advice I can get.

I have been getting quite a bit of correspondence lately. One, however, has been weighing on my mind, and I have decided to lay out my questions here, on the off-chance that someone might be able to give me some extra info, or at least point me in the right direction.

The letter I got was from Millington:

Yes, I got it over a month ago, but I have been mulling its ramifications for a while. A brief rundown follows, or, if you care to read the whole thing, the content of the letter is here: Page 1, Page 2.

So, basically, my obligation to the Navy is up. Finished. I can happily go my own way as a full-on civilian. The problem is, I am not sure I want to. Don’t get me wrong here, I have no plans on going back to a boat. As much as I am convinced that was the best job I have ever had, or will ever have, frankly, kids trump job. I had a somewhat absent father, and it sucked, so I decided, after coming back from my last deployment, that I would not do that to my kids. This decision was aided by the reactions of my boys to my return: PBS V2.1 (3 at the time) refused to talk to me for weeks, as he was mad that I had left him; and PBS V2.2 (1 at the time) would only cry or scream when I came near, as I had only been around for about 7 weeks of his first year – he didn’t recognize me.

Why then the conflict? Was it not yours truly who skipped happily off ustafish on his last day? (Well, no – my last day was in Souda Bay, Crete, and, well, the going away party the night before in Xania was apparently quite the party. I couldn’t tell you for sure, though – as I remember only the first 45 minutes or so). Why the turnaround?

The truth is, I *like* feeling that I could still contribute if I was needed. Being in the IRR suited me OK – if things really hit the fan, I was available, but otherwise, I got on with my life. Now, however, that is not really an option. I am currently Standby Reserve – Inactive (USNR-S2), but that is only a temporary thing. So I have to choose – do I join the no-kidding reserves, or do I finally bid the Naval Service a fond farewell?

Complicating matters is the fact that I miss it. There, I admitted it. I miss being in uniform, I miss feeling that I am actually doing something worthwhile, no matter how small. I miss being of use to something greater than myself, something that I value very much. So yeah, I am seriously considering giving that pesky Reserve recruiter a call (Heh, we parted terms on our last call on not the best terms. He admitted he had been an ELT before going officer. I couldn’t help it, I exclaimed, “You were a SMAG?!” The conversation pretty much ended there. Touchy touchy).

I haven’t yet, though. The reason is, there are a few complications that I would like to try and get a handle on before I open myself up to his pestering again. This is where the bleg comes in.

Question 1) I am currently working as a DoD civilian, a very nice deal, as my 7 years active duty count towards my civilian retirement. Which plays into my question: If I got reserves, how does the reserve retirement deal interact or interfere with my civilian retirement? I am assuming I cannot take credit for those 7 years for both my civilian and reserve retirements, yes? So do I start over from scratch? And if so, do I get to chose how those years get applied (I really do not want to loose my time in grade on the civilian side, it actually means more there)? Anyone ever served as a DoD civ and reservist at the same time who might have some insight?

Question 2) I understand that the DoD offers military leave to those civilians who also serve in the reserves, as a separate category from annual leave and sick leave. What I can not determine via the OPM websites is what exactly military leave entails. Do I continue to draw civilian pay while on mil leave, or is it basically leave without pay while I draw my military paycheck? (That would actually mean a pay cut for me, as I have gotten a few raises since I became a civ)

Question 3) This one is rather minor compared to the other two, but it is still non-trivial. How do I find out if I can get stationed at the base which I work on as a civ? I know, vaguely, that there are paid and non-paid billets, but, frankly, I know nothing about billets other than that. The Reserve recruiter at SEPS was rather vague about that, as he was doing his best to paint a happy picture.

So, there you have it. My dilemma boiled down to three questions. Any insight anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

25 July 2006

Not My Concern, Idjit

Consider, if you will, the wonderful, overbudget, bloated, barely operating Dept. of the Navy IT infrastructure known as NMCI (Navy-Marine Corps Internet). In order to keep these thousands of computers updated, the Navy IT team and EDS use a system of pushing software fixes to the computers remotely. So that this somewhat processor-intensive process does not disrput work too noticeably, these pushes are scheduled to take place at night. For this to work, however, computers must be restarted at the end of the work day, not powered off. This way, if a push is executed at night, the computers are ready to receive it. And thus it happens - or, at least, it happens this way between 50-75% of the time. The rest of the time the push fails, and retries when you log on in the morning, locking your computer up for a seemingly unending upgrade, or simply just executes randomly during the day, with similar results.

But wait - didn't the DoD agree to try out the conservation thing? Doesn't leaving thousands of computers running all night just in case they need to be updated contravene this? Apparently, the powers that be thought so, for not too long ago another software push came down from the IT folks. This one would allow a computer to be turned on remotely if a push was needed. Success! Now the computers can be turned off, and the Navy can take one more step towards being good stewards.

There is more, however. On every push announcement, the IT team appends a little note about proper use of one's computer, which contains the advice to restart the computer at the end of the day. Now that this new push has been implemented, that advice will change, yes? You guessed it - that advice remains.

Confused, your friend, the confused PBS, emails the IT team, asking them to clear up thisapparent paradox. Surely, now that the capability exists, we should be turning our computers off at night?

The reply, parsed for space and admin-speak:
No, restart your computer every night. That auto-on update? It was just to keep the enviromental office off our backs. Sure, now we could have everyone shut down at night and save the energy, but, frankly, it is just easier for us if the don't. So, while we can do it, we won't. Hopefully no one will notice. Now be quiet, or we'll crash your laptop.

Ok, so I made that last bit up, but you get the idea.

NMCI - always looking out for, well...

21 July 2006

We (all) get Letters!

Oh, how nice, Saddam has sent the American people a letter. I have never been very good about correspondence, but I hope he will accept my reply:

Dear Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti-

Enjoy Jahannam.


Health Survey?

I am glad this isn’t going on where I live. I don’t care if you are offering me $45, I ain’t giving up blood to a door-to-door nurse, or even letting ‘em rope and choke me. Helk, I hated getting poked by corpsmen, but at least I knew they were sticking me in a clean facility.

TAD Lessons Learned

So, my absence may or may not have been noticed. If you care, I was in Texas on TDY. It is a small part of a much larger program, but it is my little slice, so there.

Things learned while there:
If a Person of Importance is agreeing with your main points, even if they are doing so for reasons that are not actually factual, one should not try and correct them in a large meeting. It is best to shut up, let them back you up, and fix them later.

If a contractor agrees with you in private concerning improving practices for quality of work reasons, they are simply doing it to get you to leave them alone. They will disavow any knowledge of said agreement in public.

Just because the guy across the table from you is also a government employee as well does not mean he is on your side. He may very well be more concerned with looking out for #1 rather than the sailor who has to take this system to sea.


In which I Jump to Conclusions

When I saw the title of this link:
Disaster drill preps Los Angeles for the inevitable
All I could think was, “Oh great, more defeatism – they are practicing for the *inevitable* terrorist attack.”  Whoops, I was wrong.  Just practicing for the next big earthquake.  That’s all right then – hope it carries off most of the state (save bo and some of my relatives who are out there).

05 July 2006

Apparently, I am infected

Apparently, patriotic pride is an epidemic.

I would argue that it is one of the main reasons that, when push comes to shove, we will not be dhimmis, while others, well….

Mocking and Belittling: Hunger Strikers

Before I provide the link, I must point out a few things.  The article, if read carefully, explains what involvement the most highly touted members of this “protest” will have.  Apparently, they have the dedication and self-discipline of another famous practitioner of this form of protest.

Yes, the “rolling fast”, where you just don’t eat for a day, and get to feel quite virtuous about it.  Most folks would call it a quick crash diet, I call it a bad underway day, where you might have maneuvering watch, followed by regular watch, followed by a quick drill set, followed by another watch.  Can I retroactively apply that to whatever lame-ass cause I want to quasi-support, just to make me feel better about it all?

That is right, folks, celebrity hunger strikes, they are not what they are cracked up to be.

04 July 2006

To provide new Guards for their future security

Today we celebrate our Independence, and those who made it possible. And while we often praise and remember the military members who help secure our freedom and independence, and rightly so, today we should also remember the courage of another group. Politicians, who truly believed that this was the right and moral course of action, said to each other and to the world, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." This was no small decision, but carried with it a fair degree of danger, for as Benjamin Franklin said at the signing, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

Yes, politicians with guts, who were willing to lay not only their honor, but their lives on the line for a decision they believed in. Perhaps one day we will see such men (or women) on the national stage again. I hope so.

03 July 2006

Forgetting One's Beginnings

First off – he of all people should realize there is a purpose and procedure behind classifying documents – we don’t generally do it willy-nilly.

Secondly – he wants our laws to be more in line with international standards?  Is he kidding?

Thirdly – I cannot believe he used to be a submariner and yet is advocating quicker disclosure of classified government data.