Monday, May 30, 2011

Memory Day...

The price of war.  Memorial Day, GTMO 2010.
1.  The last Monday in May is observed as Memorial Day in the United States.
2.  I am the first person in my family to be in the military (to my knowledge).
3.  Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day.
4.  Decoration Day was first observed in 1865.
5.  Memorial Day is the first vacation day from work after Easter (aka spring holiday for those who can't handle religion being "thrown in their faces") for many people.

Additional fact:  Today at quarters (for non-military: a meeting where all enlisted in my dept show up to hear the "good news"), as we said the Sailor's Creed (which we do at the start of every quarters session), it hit me that today was memorial day, and I am but a small part of something much larger.

Teh Mom posted a status update on FB about being grateful to the military, with a shoutout to her daughter (me) who is currently serving.  Teh Dad tried to get ahold of me yesterday also, because they had been thinking about me since it was Memorial Day weekend.

Another Fact:  I didn't join the military to be part of something larger, or to support my country.  I joined because I needed a job.  I'm not ashamed of this.

I don't necessarily agree with all the things we're fighting for, but I don't necessarily disagree either.  I'm very appreciative of all the things that the military has provided for me.  Yes, my life is hard, but there are people that have it worse (always a valid argument).

As I recited the Sailor's Creed with other sailors in my department, I realize that if I was in an actual combat zone (with the bombs and the guns and the outright terrorists), the person standing next to me today, might not be standing beside me in days to come.  And it made me think back...  so many wars, so many lost.  THAT is what we're remembering.  The day for recognizing the armed forces that are still with us is Veteran's Day, its in November.  But I mean, who's complaining about recognition?   

Today is a day to honor those that paid the ultimate price for their service.

Those that died thinking, hell yeah, only 82 more days and I'm out of this desert, or this snowstorm, or this jungle, or this trench.  I'm goin' home and I'm gonna have a beer and enjoy my family.  Those that never got to see their last day, or the end results of their efforts, even if it was just as a mail carrier, cook, mechanic, doc, those jobs that seem small but are necessary to ensure that the military remains functional...

The price of freedom is death.  Death of sons and daughters and husbands and wives and fathers and mothers and friends and even enemies.  Someone who meant something to somebody.

So while we continued saying the Sailor's Creed, I thought about peace.  I thought about the people who had died trying to achieve "peace", which only seems to be a band-aid to the wound.  People who died during the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, the War on Terror...  People who are AT peace, by paying the price of death, to give their countrymen the gift of rights, to choose war or peace...

So, complain about your gas prices being too high and enjoy your 3 day weekend.  Think about the man or woman who was vigilant and killed the man or woman that could have risen to power and made the wars that we've fought significantly altered where our enemy won instead of us.  Think about soldiers who fought during the Civil War for same rights for all skin colors, about soldiers who froze to death during WW1, about solider's bodies that littered the beaches of Normandy during WW2, about soldiers who have died from cancer or other health reasons from exposure to chemicals used during war (Agent Orange), about the solider who faces a child who has bombs strapped to his body...

Because I'm that American, that never realized what Memorial Day was about until I was in the military.  I knew what it was about, but it was just the free vacation day at the end of May for most of my life.  So I will sit back and think about the gruesome past that allows us the present that we live in.  The price of life for a life.


I am a United States Sailor.

I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.

I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.

I proudly serve my country's Navy combat team with honor, courage and commitment.

I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.

And despite all those thoughts, we weren't even finished with the Creed yet...  But soon enough, and the day trucked on...

PS.  Excellence comes in difference forms.  Just sayin.


Saturday, May 28, 2011


Me when it comes to making a decision..  (Image)
A Dell XPS 17.  Its a refurb, but it will still be new to me, kinda like buying a used car.  Cheaper, but still new enough.

I'm pretty excited by the decision.  Mostly the MAKING the decision, finally.  I'm pretty sure I sat at the submit order screen for 14 of the 15 minutes I get for inactivity.  

The inner monologue went something like this:
Am I getting what I wanted?  Am I getting too much?  What is the difference between BD-RW and DVD+/-RW + BD-ROM?  Should I just get the better BD-RW?  When the hell would I ever burn a blue-ray disc?  Did I get the processor I wanted?  Should I just kick it back down to the minimal version, save $100?  Should I just go with the 1gb video card instead of the 3gb?  Should I just go with 6gb of RAM instead of 8?  You know you are being ridiculous, right?  But its a blue-ray player, Teh Bear has been buying blue-rays and if I want to watch Toy Story on my computer, I'll need the blue-ray player, because Lord knows operating that PS3 will make my brain explode.  You know you've looked at computer for DAYS now, and you have seen what's out there, and you've asked for help, and no one has really made any concrete suggestions, so you're on your own?  Be a big girl and just click the damn button.  But what if I'm not getting what I want?  How is this computer NOT what you want, you just picked it out, dumbass.  (Yes, I call myself dirty names in my inner monologue.)  Yeah, but there's so many options?  Should I just go spec out a new one and see if there's any good coupons?  Oooo, should I wait until June 1st and see if any Dell Outlet deals come about?  *shift body, screen falls all the way back with a pop*  Ok, no, I won't wait.  But what if when I check out they charge me tax and shipping and then that extra $100 that I just spent is doubled cause of tax?  Oooo mmmm geeeeee.

Finally, I unfroze (which is a sign of me panicking), and open a new tab to the dell outlet one last time to make sure that I was getting the right one.  I mean, I know people preached APPLE to me, and some people threw some other brands at me, that I couldn't really find/didn't meet my standards, but what's a girl to do!?!?!?!

So I looked again at the submit order button.  Realized there was NO tax AND Dell is shipping the computer to the APO.  


36 hours passed without an email from Dell confirming my order.. oh and yes I had written the beginning of this blog in the excitement and blissful glow of being soon-to-be-new-computer-owner...  I had a purchase ID, but not an order #... 2 VERY different things.

The last 12 hours of those 36 included several calls to Dell.  I tried calling so many times at work that I'm sure I can recite the "this call isn't toll free from your location" message... in Arabic...  ok, maybe not, but potentially parts of it.  I think the guys says poop at some point.  I couldn't get a working number, so those annoying pop up boxes when you are trying to configure a new computer that ask if you want to chat with a rep?  I actually had to use THAT to talk to someone this afternoon about the lack of order confirmation.  Sushi Sheesha Seeshi T gave me a number to call that ACTUALLY worked, and I finally spoke to a Dell rep.  I told both the chat person and the phone rep that I wanted to make sure the order was cancelled.  The phone rep assured me that the order wasn't going to go through anyways due to shipping it to a PO box.  No, lady, an APO isn't a freakin PO box.  GOSH.

So, with that order cancelled, I sorted through all the options again, this time finding one slightly better because it has facial recognition!!!!  Which is one of those stupid cool things that I was pleased with.

This time I shipped it to Teh Bear (who has recently become my personal postal worker, and for that he is awesomest) and put in the correct billing address (oops, my bad).  I got a purchase confirmation email AND an order confirmation email in the SAME MINUTE, which completely negated Teh Bear's argument about how I was being impatient about the first order, thank you, Dell (you assholes).

What I ended up:
-- XPS L702X Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
   Unit Price: $1,049.00
   Quantity: 1
-- XPS L702X
-- Documentation
-- Service Software
-- Label
-- NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M 3GB graphics with Optimus-- Service Software
-- 9 Cell Primary Battery-- Certified Refurbished
-- DataSafe Online Backup Software
-- Service Software
-- Blu-ray Disc Combo (DVD+/-RW + BD-ROM)
-- 17.3 inch HD+ (900p) WLED Display
-- Dell Support Center 64 Bit 2.0
-- Elemental Silver Aluminum
-- Power DVD Software
-- 64BIT Operating System
-- Operating System DVD
-- Shipping Material
-- Wave Systems Software
-- Internal Backlit Keyboard - English
-- Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 and Bluetooth 3.0
-- Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Operating System DVD
-- AC Adapter
-- Software
-- No Media Selected
-- Microsoft Office Starter
-- Processor: Intel Core i7-2720QM processor (2.20 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.30 GHz)
-- 500 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
-- Sound Blaster X-Fi MB Panzer software version 1.2
-- 125V Power Cord
-- Facial Recognition Software-- Information
-- Processor Label
-- Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
-- 500 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM) 2nd Drive-- Label
-- 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz (2 DIMMs)-- Software
-- Dell WebCam Central
-- Image Restore Software
-- Bracket
-- Roxio Software CD
-- XPS 17-L702X: 1 Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis (Included In Price)
   Unit Price: $0.00
   Quantity: 1
   Total Price: $0.00
Subtotal: $1,049.00
Shipping and Handling: $19.99
Shipping Discount: -$19.99
Sales Tax: $68.19
Total Amount: $1,117.19

I feel like out of all the systems I looked at and for, I got the best deal for the best specs with this system.  No, it didn't have a fingerprint reader, but that was one of the surprise cool things about the Stupido 17, along with the lid design.  It will most likely come with a silver lid (which are great for Peace Frog stickers).  But it won't have the insides of the computer showing, and the lid will close properly...  I won't have to worry about coming home one day and my computer not having a display anymore (yay peace of mind, peace frogs, peace of mind.. hehe get it?).
Retro Peace Frog is the bestest, which is why I have the towel and used to have this sticker on the very first laptop and on my car, and I have the outline peace frog on my Camelbak bottle.  I'm kind of a Peace Frog fiend. (Peace Frog Store)


Friday, May 27, 2011

Cooking Adventures. 1

Being deployed is hard.  When you aren't near your favorite stores with all your favorite things.  Or sometimes you don't even have the means to make things happen, like cooking.  For over 2 years, I only had a microwave and mini fridge.  I have microwaved eggs, I've trekked in the rain to a community kitchen for cupcakes, I dealt with no ice cream because a freezer was optional..  Being deployed sucks.

At work, we are in communication with some of the vessels in the AOR.  We do the same jobs, just somewhere else.  I try not talk about civilization to them, because I've been in that situation where people talk about their "real life" aka their American life and I don't have the same things that they have (my own bedroom that didn't include a bathroom, a kitchen, etc).  It sometimes feels like they are rubbing it in, despite knowing that isn't the intention, really I know, they were just telling me about their normal life, which happened(s) to be better than mine.. :)

One day, I accidentally brought up the fact that I was eating an enchilada for dinner while chatting with someone.  I received the standard, you asshole comments, and immediately felt pretty bad, so I offered a compromise, what could I send?  Its nice when people send you things that you've asked for.  Sugar cookies was the solution.

So, I went on a baking spree.  When I went to the NEX the other day to pick up ingredients, they also had marshmellows for $1.  Woot!  Rice Krispy Treats!  And since there was no cheap rice krispy cereal in a bag I was feeling experimental, I got chocolate rice krispy cereal instead of the regular kind.  There was also some Jello No Bake strawberry cheesecake thingies on sale, which I also purchased, but decided to make another day.

All the supplies.  Including the ipod dock, which is one of the most super-de-duper items I own.  This cooking session also served as a jam session.
Yes, I'm lazy, I use prepackaged stuff, like sugar cookie (which I didn't find at the NEX, siigh) and brownie mix.  While I appreciate the effort that it takes to make something from scratch, sometimes its hard to find all the necessary ingredients to make something from scratch here.  Teh Ginger's wife challenged me once to make a rainbow cake, which essentially is white cake mix with food coloring, placed in the pan in layers..  And while it looks awesome, I don't have that much free time on my hands, nor the kosher food coloring kit that I could buy from amazon.  Maybe one day when I'm a housewife domesticated goddess (both options are so ludacris).

Peppermint Brownies..  oh does that have alcohol in it?  my bad.
Recipe for peppermint brownies:
Follow the directions on the brownie mix, except for the add water part.  Add peppermint schnapps till you think there's enough minty smell.  Not too much cause you'll make your brownies all watery then they won't be fudgy and delicious.  The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of water per package (I used 2 packages), so I put prob over 4 tablespoons but less than 1/3 of a cup in the mix, but who was measuring?

You can also substitute your own flavor, I've also done these with amaretto, but I didn't use enough so you couldn't really tell it was there, although there was a slightly nutter than normal flavor, even though there were no nuts in mix.
this photo is awesome, mostly because of how hard it was to take the photo... and how delicious the batter smelled.
The best part about making brownies is making sure you got all the batter out of the bowl...  Waste not, want not.
For rice krispy treats, I followed the generic directions you can find online.  6 cups rice krispies, 10 oz marshmallows (although apparently these bags are actually 16 oz, but I helped the first bag out by eating several), a few spoonfuls of butter, and for the PB part, the recipe called for 1/2 a cup, but I had a little more than 1/2 a cup of PB left, so I just used the rest of it.  Yeah, thats how I operate, I do what I wawnt!  Take that directions!
PB chocolate rice krispy treats ingredients.

melting too many marshmallows for the rice krispy treats.  wooden spoon = bad idea, lesson proved several times.

Trying to get them to go in the pan proved difficult with a wooden spoon.  I smartened up and used a silicone spatula for the 2nd batch.

While it looks mostly disgusting.. its so delightful!
It made me keep thinking of the spider webs in Tol Barad where you have to kill the spiders.
(WoW reference for those of you that didn't get it).

The brownies finished right as I finished the 2nd batch of rice kripies.  So beautiful!
  And the ipod dock remote sneakin into the picture (which is why I bought this particular dock).

Mixing up the sugar cookies.  Baking isn't fun unless you can play with your hands get dirty.
These are the most awesome pants I own, btw, my Merry pants.

Look at those beautiful golden edges.
What I learned from all this:
My oven is environmentally friendly and after about an hour of being on, it decided it weren't gonna work no more (intentional bad grammar that goes back to a story about a printer and my college roommate and her Eastern NC talkin that I failed to understand once).

This sucks because my oven is kinda cool in that you turn it on for a certain amount of time, say 45 minutes, and then it starts to cool down after 45 minutes.  This doesn't mean if you don't take your stuff out of the oven it won't burn (lesson learned the hard burnt way), because it will still be hot.  But after 2 batches of sugar cookies not getting my beautiful golden edges because they weren't cooking at all, I had to just set the oven to stay on and not use the timer... Siiiiiigh, keeping up with time is soooo annoying.  I should probably invest in a timer if I'm going to keep caudling the inner Betty F-in Crocker.

Baking in mass quantities seems easier than baking one thing at a time, like sugar cookies one day, brownies the next day, etc.  I was prob in the kitchen for less than 4 hours for all of this.  Now I just need to get it packaged and boxed up so I can ship it out.  Its good I have so many boxes hanging around in my storage room.  Ah, moving every year has its benefits.... /roll eyes.  And hopefully, the mail will get there quickly!

**All photos are personal, and using a dslr one handed is VERY difficult while you're trying to do other things with the other hand, like not pour brownie batter all over the counter or get the blob of marshmellows and cereal into the pan and not on the counter..  While tricky, I'm amazing, so I make shit happen.  :)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

spending lots of money... hurts.

Post Rapture Laptop Breakage... (personal)
This makes me worried.  Like, REALLY worried.  Like, stalk laptop sites with the intention of spending money worried.

In that photo, you can see the insides of my computer..  the ones you aren't supposed to see.  Also, before you suggest duct taping it closed because you can't contain your inner redneck, the grey shit on the orange/yellow area is duct tape residue from where I had my computer "fixed" before I came to Bahrain.  It has worked it's way off, with only minor interference from my annoyed fingers.  Its a story that also involves Teh Dad, but he didn't PUT the duct tape there.  He did have to endure the wrath that was Teh Megan realizing that the tech had put DUCT TAPE ON MY COMPUTER.  SO MUCH RAGGGGEEEEEE.  2ndly (stfu, its my blog I do what I wawnt), due to the breakage, the corner is no longer able to shut at all, much less correctly.

So new laptop?  Siiiiigh, looks like it.

Dell, HP, Apple, Toshiba, Sony, Samsung, someone even joked about an E-Machine.

Its overwhelming all of the options.  I dared to look at the Dell website a few months ago, because I've known for a while that my laptop is on its last leg.  Then, the best processor was an i5.  Now its an i7.  When I bought this laptop, 4g of RAM was a lot (which is what I have because I'm a computer snob).  Now 6g of RAM is the free upgrade and 8g of RAM is only $60 more.

So I'm torn.  Do I buy the biggest and the best that is available right now for about $1k or do I settle for a mid-line system that is potentially cheaper?  Because nothing about me says go the mid-line option.  Everything is pulling me to drop the 1k on the biggest and best, but I ask myself how necessary is that?

What is my dream computer since I'm obviously willing to shell out some money on a new computer? Well I'm so glad you ask, cause I've been droolin' over a Apple Macbook Pro 17" for years now.

But that is about $2500 that I'm not willing to drop because of a name.  Especially when the hardware isn't as good as what I could get somewhere else.  Yeah its the most stable system out there if you're working hard on your computer, but I'm not in college using Adobe/Final Cut anymore.  And I hear the touchpad on a Mac is the best you can get, ever, anywhere, and that makes my eyes glaze over in delight, but a touchpad isn't the reason to buy an entire computer.

What are my specifications?  Glad you asked, again.

I want:
17" (thats what she said) screen size
i7 processor - can be the lowest GHz
size doesn't really matter for my HD (thinking at least 350g), since I have the external, but it has to be 7200rpm, not 5200rpm
at least 6gb of RAM, but want 8gb
at least a 512mb stand alone video card, 1gb would satisfy me, 3gb would prob make me need to change underwear
a wireless card that includes the bluetooth extension
Blue-Ray DVD player would be nice, but not necessary, as I do not plan to start buying Blue-Ray dvds anytime soon
9 cell battery
preferrably with backlit keyboard (which is a nice, but not necessary thing) or I would trade this option for the fingerprint reader which I've LOVED on this computer (because I'm too lazy to type in a password when I can just swipe my finger 1-20 times on the thingy).

and one of the simplest yet biggest things: SHIPS TO APO/FPO............
Me when I find out places don't ship to/offer free shipping for APO addresses.
side rant: NOT shipping to APO/FPO is UNPATRIOTIC YOU AMERICA HATERS!!!  I've had to deal with this issue for 2 years now, and this is one of the most ridiculous things I've had to deal with being overseas, probably debatable, but I'm willing to have that lovely rant/debate.  I've had to send a lot of stuff to someone else, to then have them ship it to me (to take advantage of free shipping or simply because they don't ship to APOs).  Apparently, there are places that you can ship items to that then will ship them to APO, but they charge you more than it would cost for your family to ship it to you through USPS.

So my front runners:
HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition (HP site)
Dell XPS 17 Refurb (Dell Outlet)
I've never owned anything but a Dell.  That was a lie.  I once owned a computer that the Ex-FiancĂ© built for me to go to college.  It wasn't really a particular type of computer since it was acquired through the one of the school warehouse sells where they were selling the old CPUs and monitors that they'd replaced.  He and his dad did some work on it, mostly stuff I had no idea about because at the time I was technologically retarded. Either way, it worked, I got to name it (Ow, thats my ear! because when I asked for a name, that was the first thing anyone said because Ex-FiancĂ©'s mom pull on his dad's ear for some reason).

Then he talked me into playing WoW with him, which would require a MAJOR computer upgrade for me.  That was my early cmas and birthday present that year, a new Dell desktop that I can't even remember what type it was.  Teh Granny has it now since she only really uses it for typing up recipes and looking at pics from trips she's been on.

As a pre-college graduation present/ if you want to go on this trip and take summer classes you have to have a laptop necessity, I bought a laptop.  An Inspiron.  I loved it.  The only reason I ever replaced it was because someone poured water on it, which I reported on my renter's insurance and they gave me money for a replacement computer since the HD was fried, which we didn't know was replaceable at the time.  After the  new computer was ordered (the now broken one), I took the inspiron to a computer guy who replaced the HD and it was good to go.  I'm such a nice person, I gave it to Teh Mom.  The only complaint I had was that the battery was dying to the point that it almost always had to be on the charger and the screen's hinges were loose, which apparently were able to be tightened.

I bought a Stupido Studio 17 to replace the inspiron.  It was the brand new Dell thing and I had discovered the Dell Outlet and the choirs of angels that sing when something is used but still new, because the tech gods decide that it can be cheaper than buying a new one.  It came with a cool lid cover (that is apparently $85 now) and I had one month of love your new laptop time before I left for bootcamp, and love it I did.  The hinges had issues when I bought it, but because of time and circumstance I couldn't really return it unless I wanted to have someone else deal with it for me, and thats never a fun time for anyone.

Recently, I've been getting more and more BSoD (blue screen of death), complete computer freeze ups, ridiculously long start up/shut down times, and the hinge remains an issue... obviously.  I mean hearing your laptop screen POP when you open/close it is normal, right?  /cringe.

(Someone's college econ project, this is why I love college)
So now, as Rafiki said:

It is time.

I have to break down and find a new computer and sort through the 10 mabillion options to figure out what I want vs what I need and what is a good price vs what is too much (lookin at your Apple, with disdain on my face and sadness in my eyes and hands void of a Macbook Pro).

I know that many people have many different opinions on what is good vs what isn't.  I'm a brand whore, I've always had a Dell, and rarely have I had too many issues with them, so I would call them dependable-y-ish.  Chuckolas already said "Dells suck."  Check.  I know that Miss Reflective has a HP that she's not complained to me about, and when I briefly used it a few times, I liked the feel of it, even though I did struggle with the touchpad, but thats a matter of getting used to the platform.

So what do I do?  Do I go for the biggest and best?  Or do I just settle for a midrange prepackaged deal that makes other consumers happy?  Will I eventually get my standard buyer's remorse for spending so much money on a laptop when I know that something with less bells and whistles would get me by?  ORRRR  Do I go the way of delight and just drop the money on the awesome computer and overcome that buyer's remorse with the fact that once I get to America and have real high speed internet, my computer will be AHHHH-MAZINGGGG(uh)!!!!!!???

Its a tough call for me.  I need help.  And I need to narrow down the options a little more, because I'm afraid that one day on the trek from my desk dining room table to my bedroom that a wire is going to get caught or something is going to get jolted the wrong way and I will no longer have a screen.  So this isn't really something I can decide another day (haha see how I did that with the title of my blog joke?  haha, I'm so funny).  Time is a tickin.

What do I doooooo?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Facebook Rules (like the ones you follow, not like FB is awesome)

So, Teh Bear and I have an understanding when it comes to social media.  Our goal is to try to not make our friends want to barf when they read communication between us.  We established Facebook Rules, so we would not be like the FB friends that we sometimes grudgingly keep have who post on their significant other's wall or on their own wall:  I LOVE MY SWEET CUPCAKE MUFFIN <3 <3 :* :* :* :D :D  DWAYNE CLETUS WILLIS IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE.
And then Dwayne responds:  I love you hunny bunch.
Hunny Bunch:  I love you more.
D: I love you more.
HB:  No I love YOU more, cause I said it first.
D: XOXOXOXOXOXOXO, thats more love.

Seriously?  (FB Group)
But, you've probably seen it.  I mean, its different if its their anniversary and they wanna be cute on each other's page like, oh, you've dealt with me for several years now, I love you, Mr/Mrs Muffinhead.  Or maybe if someone went out of their way to do something special, like when Teh Bear made me an entire box full of origami cranes.  Actually, it was more than just one box, because the 2nd package he sent also had cranes in it, so it was a lot of fucking birds.  And he did them all by himself.  Of course he got a subtly lovey public message from me about how awesome it was.  But I didn't all caps about TEH BEAR IS SO GREAT :* :* :* <3 <3 <3.  No, it was sly.  I posted a photo and made a status, or two, about it, and now they sit in my living room for me to gaze at from time to time because they are so freakin awesome.

The thing about the blog though is that this is my space (not to be confused with Myspace, which I no longer have).  I can say whatever the hell I want.  Although, I do still try to apply the Facebook Rules as often as possible, because even in the blog, no one wants to hear all that sap.  References every once in a while is endearing, but plastering your love all over the internet for the world to see just annoys everyone else.  The rest of us are glad you are happy, truly.  But, I'm deployed (even if this is a PCS, don't get sassy), and this isn't my normal life, so when you plaster all over the internet how happy you are, I'm happy for you in a please-shut-the-fuck-up-soon-no-one-wants-to-see-that-all-the-time type of way.

What mushy FB statuses would look like
if they weren't just words on the internet.
Your love for each other smothers me, and it makes me jealous.  Your wedding pictures are beautiful, and I'm jealous cause I want one.  Your baby is usually the most precious thing known to mankind, and I'm jealous cause I want one, maybe, eventually, sometime, in the far future.  Cause I have spring fever because I'm in my mid-20s and I'm in the middle east and never realized that being in the navy meant having a very small chance of having what most would consider a normal lifestyle.

Another one of the great things about this being my blog is that I can go off on as many tangents as I like... :)

Back to the rules.  We try not to smother everyone else with our lub.  Not everyone in the world needs to know the things that I can tell Teh Bear person-to-person via skype or chat versus a Facebook status.  I mean, I know my situation isn't the best in the world, but I know there are people out there that have it worse than I do, so while I sit in my comfy apartment talking about someone else's love smothering me, I don't want to be the asshole that rubs my relationship awesomeness in someone else's face.

So we have Facebook Rules.  If its anything close to mushy, reevaluate and decide if you need to break the rules.  Hell, sometimes even posting pics of us being silly together causes me to reevaluate, like hrmmmmm, should this be posted?  The kissy pic I posted for my 30 day challenge?  That was at least a 5 minute debate in my head, but that photo makes me smile every time I see it, so I stuck to my guns.  We hope that it saves us from earning the reputation of being that couple and saving people's gag reflex and potentially prior meal.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lyrics gone wrong.

You know how sometimes, you don't know the words to the song, but you wanna sing along, so you just sing syllables that sound like what the artist is saying?  Example:

I do this sometimes.  But sometimes I just get the lyrics wrong entirely.  The best to date are:

Rihanna - Disturbia - aka Scurvy Love.  From the title of the song I realized she wasn't actually saying scurvy love, but that didn't stop me from singing it that way.

One day I sang it wrong in front of Teh BFF and she was, "WTF are you saying?"
Me singing: SCURVY LOVE!!  Like a dark decision!
tBFF: Megan, that's not what she's sayin.
Me:  That's what it sounds like though.
tBFF: Well.  When you sing ... scurvy love when she says disturbia it does..  kinda.. but that doesn't make it right.
tBFF then looks at me with worry on her face like I actually might have gone crazy.  This still makes me giggle.

Bruno Mars - Marry You - is it dancing juice or dancing shoes?

Honestly, I'm not really sure, so I sing it both ways.  As long as I sing it with confidence, or low enough, or mumbled, no one will try to correct me.

This is why sometimes country music has its benefits.  Its usually so slow that its hard to misunderstand the lyrics.

Also, I'm not a super huge youtube-er, as in, the type of person that goes on youtube just to watch random as videos.  BUT, in writing this blog I learned that if you search misheard lyrics, you'll find a gold mind of entertainment..  Probably more than reading my blog.  :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

EIDWS.. and no thats not a dirty word.

I am really lazy.  I start this post off with such a strong statement because its true.  That said, this month, I've been impressively NOT lazy...  Let me explain.

In the Navy (not like the song), you can get warfare qualifications.  Hooyah, go navy.  /roll eyes.  You can get them pretty much on any platform, ship, sub, aircraft and even if you're deployed to say AF/Iraq you can get the expeditionary pin, as a SEAL you get a pin, as a diver you get a special pin...  But, when you're unlucky lucky like me, you don't get stationed at places that offer pins (lookin at you, JTF-GTMO) or have a job that you qualify for a pin.  The thing with not having a warfare pin is that you're grouped with those sailors who... don't have pins.  And for some, not having a pin actually makes you not a "real" sailor.

Well, I've never had the opportunity to GET a pin, so when a particular PO1 wants to tell me that he doesn't have to listen to me (speak in general) because I'm not a real sailor because I don't have a pin...  I get enraged and usually cut him short mid-speech with, Some of us have not been afforded the opportunity to GET a pin, so your dissertation is invalid, next subject.  Rude?  Hell yes.  Appropriate?  Probably not, but after hearing it 2-3 times all the way through, I feel like he is being just as rude as me interrupting him...  I mean, I did hear him the first 3 times, with respectful acknowledgement, which is a BIG thing for me.

The Navy decided that people in certain rates (aka jobs for you non-Navy) often aren't given the opportunity to get warfare qualifications, and since having a pin is practically a requirement (if not a full on requirement) to advance to certain paygrades, they had to make a pin that was obtainable for those of us who are not "real" sailors.

Enter the Information Dominance Warfare (IDW) Qualification.  Aka the Nerd Pin.

Oh wait not that one!

Enlisted IDWS Pin...  Isn't that lightning bolt snazzy? (source)

"Real" sailors agreed that this pin was a joke.  If you don't get your pin on a water vessel, you're not a real sailor, but what does that say for people who have the expeditionary pin, that they didn't try as hard because they weren't on a boat or sub?  Most people who earned 2 pins already refuse to put the IDW on or even bother getting it.

But.. I'm pinless.  So, I'm getting my EIDWS (Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialty, there is also an officer equivalent, which has been around for about a year already) and I'm proud of it.  Because of the wacky schedule I work, I was on nights when the EIDWS program was completed and we could begin training..  I didn't go to training, because it was during my sleepy time, and I need all the sleep I can get (to the point of taking naps during lunch break when I was still a student in VA Beach, I was a much nicer person if I got my nap in, it was proven).  Also, I go out of my way to NOT go to base on my days off.  NAVCENT is kinda like a black hole that just sucks you in and you can't ever escape once you enter, so its safer to just not go to base at all.  Sadly, sometimes the only way to get to hang out with your work friends is to go into work and hang out, but I digress.

This month I've been on days.  There are morning and evening training briefs and I since I am unable to attend the morning ones due to work load, I attended evening briefs when they were offered.  But this month was special.  They also did Saturday training sessions where we knocked out 10+ sections in a few hours.  Worth my time to go to base, even if it meant being sucked into the black hole?  HELL YES!

I started my EIDWS at the beginning of the month, and with 10 days left in the month I've only got a handful of sections left to get signatures on.  Now I just need to start studying (anyone wanna make a study group?) to prep for the board and test, and I'll have it.

Honestly, I'm proud of myself and I'm bragging right now, because I've done something awesome.  It doesn't matter to me that this qualification isn't necessarily the hardest qual to get or the fact that I didn't get it while I was stationed on something floating in the water.. well wait, I am on an island... again.  :)  The fact that I said, I'm doing the damn thing and I've done it, makes me proud of me.  Because, I'm lazy, its no jk.  But I've gone out of my way, and went to work on 2 of my Saturday's off to accomplish a hefty amount of work.

And another caveat.  I'm not Jane Navy.  I'm appreciative that the military has given me a paycheck and a job that I love, but I'm not that person that is anal about the fact that someone's pants aren't bloused to the 2nd eyelet on their boots or the fact that their black backpack has a label on it.  Getting a pin for me is a two-fold win.  1, I'll have a pin, so PO1 Pinman can stfu.  2.  I'll have earned a qualification, which looks good on my eval, which is hurtin because I don't do nearly as much volunteer work as I'd like.  But because I have a pin and there are other sailors that don't doesn't make them not good at their job or not as good of a sailor, if not better than someone with 10 million warfare pins.  I will NOT look down on another sailor because they don't have pins, in the same way that I don't look down on lower enlisted because they aren't PO (petty officers for the non-Navy).  Just because you don't have a crow or a pin doesn't make you less than anyone else.. unless you're a shitbag, and thats a horse of a different color.

So, maybe I'm only just lazy.  ;)

PS.  One of the first questions I asked my Master Chief in GTMO was if I could get a pin.. so ha!  10 pts, me.

Me trying to be taller than Master Chief the day I got frocked to PO2 (Personal photo)


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Facebook land..

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just some things.

1.  I don't like that I didn't have a blog for today.  So I am winging it.
2.  I love lists, so this makes me happy, while winging it, AND making a blog post.
3.  I forgot to do my 30 day photo challenge thingy this morning.  Luckily, I remembered at work, and then again when I got home.  Check.
4.  I hate waking up early to go to work, especially when its for department PT, where I've never seen more than 25-30 people from our department there.
5.  I hate being at work for more than 12 hours a day.
6.  I hate coming home from work and being so exhausted I just want to go to bed, meaning I don't get to do anything with my day... besides work.  Its unsatisfying.
7.  I love looking at my photos.
8.  Looking at my photos brings back memories, and its great.
9.  I don't keep receipts.
10.  I hate it when people try to shove receipts at me when I try to leave them.  If I wanted my receipt, I would have freaking kept it.
11.  My watch that I bought when I got to VA Beach is dying.  It's stopped at least 2 times now.  And currently its got moisture in it that isn't evaporating.  Its water proof.  I'm sad.
12.  I'm thinking NAVCENT is going to give me PTSD... or it already has in the form of depression.
13.  I hate when people don't do their job correctly, making it harder on everyone else they work with.
14.  I hate when people bitch and complain and their lives really aren't that bad.  wait one.
15.  I miss America.  And that isn't bad English for I'm Miss America, no no.  I miss the place.
16.  Sometimes I'm technologically incompetent.  All I had to hit was the green check button on the printer today, but instead i restarted it 3 times because I was pissed off it was telling me that I needed to close a closed tray.
17.  Zeplen ate the remote to my dvd player.  Teh Bear suggested getting a universal remote.  The idea of programming a universal remote is more baffling to me than trying to adjust tracking on a VCR, which I used to do.
18.  I like the dark.
19.  Recently, I started taking a prescription that actually gets rid of my migraines.  It also decreases the effectiveness of my birth control.  /grumbles.
20.  My goal for this list is 25, and this is me wasting a number to tell you that.
21.  When I turned 21, I didn't drink.
22.  I turn to shopping when I'm stressed or avoiding dealing with something.  I spent over $400 last month on non-essentials.  BUT, I got an amazingly cute dress, skirt, and shirt, 8 seasons of TV shows that I've missed/wanted to own, and 3 awesome swim suits!
23.  My new thing is chai lattes.  Its chai tea with 1/2 water, 1/2 milk, and lotso sugar.  numnumnum.
24.  24 was the worst birthday ever.  What I thought was pulled muscles from a car accident a few days prior turned out to be endometrosis.  Thank you, Body, fuck you.
25.  50 more days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Faded Southern Belle

When I was in college, I made a photo video collage thingy (new technical term) of Teh Sister and I (which can be found here).  It was mostly photos, but to add some complexity, as we had the entire semester to work on this project, and no other real assignments (hello very first COM 498 Digital Expressions class, I love you, I miss you), I also got a home video (VHS) digitized (not sure if thats the technical term or not, but it is now).  The shitty part, it was digital.. in 10 second increments.  An hour long VHS, cut up into 10 second files.  Yes, please be my guest to guess how many files that was, because I have no idea since I deleted most of the stuff that I remembered that most definitely was NOT going into a school project.  In this video I was prob between the ages of 6-8.  I'm not really good at projecting children's ages (what with the no kids and all).  I tried to watch some random clips.  OMG.  I really was sounded like a country bumpkin.  I remember going home on leave after I'd joined the Navy and I hung out with my clone younger cousin.  I corrected her grammar several times because she was saying things incorrectly, and it was driving me crazy.  But lets be honest, when bad is all you hear, it ain't so wrong, right?  :)  The other thing I most definitely noticed was the twang in every word that came from her mouth.

I went home and said to Teh Mom, please tell me I never sounded like that!  Teh Mom, crusher of all dreams, "oh yes, you used to talk like that."  Me: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Speaking Southern is kinda like a language of its own.  And if you speak it fast, don't have any faith that anyone from above the Mason-Dixon Line will understand a word you're saying.  One of my goals in college was to lose some of my ridiculously Southern accent.  When you're in NC, its not so bad, but once you start venturing out into the world, when you talk like you are obviously from the South, people knock your IQ points down a few levels and assume that you're probably an idiot because they can't understand the intelligent words you are saying.  On the other hand, some people really like it.  Since I've been in the military, I've heard more guys say that a girl with a southern accent is the hottest thing ever.  Teh Bear jokes about the fact that when he did hurricane relief in Mississippi (or was it Alabama?), if he hadn't already been married, he prob would have married one of those girls just because of the way they talked.

But sometimes there is an obvious communication gap between his Yankee and my Southern.  Actually its probably just a gap between Southern and the rest of the world, but any opportunity to give him shit for being a Yankee is welcome.

Best example to date:
I live near 2 intersections.  One intersection has always had a red light, the other has a fairly new red light, and many of the locals aren't used to it yet, so they gun it after the first red light, only to realize they will be stopping for another red light in about 50 more yards, queue the brakes.  Recently, a truck jackknifed at the red light because he was trying to stop for the red light.  There was also a familiar thump of impact with a car.  And since I'm that nosey person that lives in the building beside said intersection, I, of course, peeped out my windows to see what had happened.

When it was video time with Teh Bear, I relayed the story to him.

M: So I was napping today, and all of a sudden, I heard tires squallin.  And it wasn't the short squall, like oops the light is red must stop squall.  It was the squall from red light to red light.  There were black marks from a dump truck that had tried to stop, from pretty much the prior intersection to the point at which he stopped.  There was also a car in the middle of the intersection, which I think was hit when the truck jackknifed, because the truck was taking up both lanes when it finally stopped and this car was not in the right place.
tB: Wow that sounds intense.
M: Yeah, it was a lot of brake squallin.
tB: Squealing?
M: No, tires squallin, like the sound when you press the brakes and come to a sudden stop.
tB: That's squealing.
M: Huh?
tB: Do you know what a squall is?
M (I didn't exactly know): Something nautical?
tB: You're in the Navy, you should know this!
M: Hey, I know its nautical, I've never been to a ship, don't get sassy.
tB: A squall is a storm at sea.
M: Well, squallin' is the sound that cars make when they are trying to make a sudden stop.
tB: I just thought you were saying squealing wrong.

At this point I send Teh BFF a text that said: what is the sound that brakes make when you come to a sudden stop?
tBFF: Well, I say squall, but you probably say squeal.
M: Nope, definitely just told Teh Bear a story about tires squallin to a stop and he thought I was sayin squealin wrong.  lol

I relay this information to Teh Bear.  He laughs.  He comments that my Southern is so cute.  I grimace.  Then the shit talkin started.

tB: So the tires were squallin in the desert.  Is this like a storm of tires in the desert?
At which point all I can envision is a hurricane of old tires swirling around in a dust storm.
M: Of course, only the best sand storms come with tire squalls.  Bowl (which is actually me calling him a butthole, but he says that when I say it, it sounds like I'm calling him a bowl, like what you eat cereal out of).
Teh Bear just smiles at me, with his victory smile.  I stick my tongue out at him and call him a jerk for good measure, so he knows that I'm trying to call him names, not kitchen items.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Its GTMO not Gitmo.

I'm Southern, when I hear "Gitmo" I think that someone is telling me to "get more", because in Southern, that is what gitmo means.  On the other hand, if you are referring to the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, it is GTMO, while this acronym can be pronounced git-mo, it isn't spelled that way.

When I read opinion blogs about detainees being tortured/held against their will/cruelty/interrogation/gathering intelligence at Gitmo, I can't take the writer seriously.  Fine, popular media has made it acceptable to use the term "Gitmo", but that doesn't make it correct.  Using incorrect terms automatically invalidates your argument, imo.  I guess in that same regard, using text speak also invalidates an argument, but I digress.

There are several commands at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The biggest are: U.S. Naval Station (NAVSTA) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (JTF-GTMO).  NAVSTA makes the rules, and JTF runs the camps.  Mostly the 2 commands operate separately from each other, but there are times like humanitarian efforts (think Haiti), when the effort is combined.  There is also the Marine security force (the guys who guard the fence line) and the Coast Guard who patrol the bay.

I try not to read too much opinion stuff about GTMO and detainees and wikileaks and the War on Terrorism, because I know I have a unique perspective because of my Navy career and the places I've been stationed (JTF-GTMO and COMUSNAVCENT).  I know that civilians think they have the inherent right to know things, when in fact, there are just things that people don't need to know.  There are things I wish I didn't know.  My job as a CS has made me have to relearn how to talk to people.  I've never been so good at talking in generalities before.

When the huge blow up with wikileaks went down, someone sent me a msg on FB asking me to read the Constitution, to see what it stands for, and was I defending that?  Oh thats right, I'm in the military and allowed to have an opinion, thats amusing.  I was then asked to recite my creed, which at that moment, having been awake about 15 minutes, I got through the "I am a United States Sailor" part.  Thats the lovely thing about time difference, I looked like an idiot and they thought they had pegged me as just some drone.  I prefer peon, actually, thank you very much.

Yet, when the budget crisis rolled around and the military wasn't gonna get paid...  I was the only one who added, with or without pay, to the end of the Sailor's Creed during quarters one day.  Sure it warranted a few laughs, but we all knew it was true.   The person that wanted me to read the Constitution could stop getting paid tomorrow and not have to go into work.  That's not a privilege I have.  You won't find that in the US Constitution though.

This blog went off in a tangent I wasn't even expecting.  I started on GTMO, about torture and "so called" terrorists (aka detainees as I was quickly corrected once I got to GTMO in a politically correct world) being held there against their will and went into doing a job with the faith that I am doing the right thing, even if people don't agree with it, and even if the day comes that I won't get paid.  Nope, I probably won't like that very much, but the part of the Sailor's Creed that I never forget is: I am a United States Sailor.

So, Americans, civilians (ye of mass quantity), etc.. correct yourselves and learn that just like in the military machine, in the American machine, you don't have to have rights either, despite what some ancient historical document says, just like people that follow parts of the Bible..  Congratulations.  Life Lesson #1 achieved: Life Ain't Fair.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Always too soon.

Teh Kaar is a 97 Honda Civic.  It has more sea time than I do.  Its been across the US, up and down the East Coast, to GTMO, and now to Bahrain, and I have plans on it seeing the US again.  Teh Kaar has over 235,000 miles on it.  It gotten a few facelifts, to include major revampage in GTMO because a TCN sideswipped me, not a fun day week month 3 months, and after it was fixed someone keyed the new side of the car (thank you, asshole).  Its been rattling a lot more than it used to, and loud cars are acceptable here in Bahrain, so it kinda works itself out.  I'm sure that some people think I made it sound that way, but that isn't the case.  It rumbles like that cause its old and its way of protesting any motion at all.

The Ghetto Machine
(Teh Sister photo)
Teh Kaar was a pre-graduation present that I receieved in April 2002.  Prior to that, I had driven both Teh Mom and Teh Dad's Toyota Camrys (they had different year models, but inside they were the same, how convenient).  Then I drove "the Ghetto Mobile", which was Teh Mom's 1990 Ford F150.  It was a stick shift, and I, being vertically challenged, was challenged to supposed to drive it.  I was NOT pleased.  I struggled with the clutch, since I could barely reach the peddles with the seat all the way up.  This truck was UGE.  Then sympathy was had on me, via Teh Granny, and we set out for a Honda Civic, 4 doors, something with yellow signal lights that weren't the same light system as the brake lights (something that just pisses me off).

Teh Kaar in Raleigh
(with matching visors).
Teh Kaar is affectionately referred to by Teh Dad as the Sliver (yes this had to be brought to his attention) Silver Streak.  I liked to speed around town before I left Podunk, NC..  Hell, I still like to speed around town.  Teh Dad has done plenty of oil changes and tire changes and general maintenance to Teh Kaar.  Always with good intentions, he noticed that my visors had holes in the cloth (the car was used when it was purchased).  This was slightly annoying to me, since the foamy stuff was drying out (as the car aged), and sometimes if the windows were down, the foam stuff would blow in my eyes (never good while driving).  We discussed options for this problem for several years.  I could just have a fun creative project and cover them with tacky random cloth.  I bought the cloth with good intentions, but then the issue of covering the mirrors put a halt on my project.  Eventually, I just threw the $1 cloth away, as it was ridiculously tacky, and my project wasn't going to happen, and I would just live with the holes.

Teh Dad then vowed to go junk yard shopping.  Splendid.  (that is sarcasm font).  This shopping took place over the course of several years, it had started while I was in high school and went through almost all of my college education.  Honda Civics run forever and there about 20 million different versions of a Honda Civic (no jk), so it was, apparently, a very complex ordeal to find visors for my car.  He often asked me what year my car was and what color the interior was, to which I would always reply, 97, 1 year newer than your Camry, and grey, just like the Camry.  He asked me this so often that I just emailed it to him, which didn't stop the question being repeated.

I came home one weekend from Raleigh, and I needed an oil change, so I asked Teh Dad to do it, no biggie.  I was out with then Pirate, but now Pirate Gone Marine (PGM), and I got a call from Teh Dad.  He had a surprise for me.  I told PGM, this isn't good, and tried to ignore that nagging pit in my stomach.

Please note the color of the
visor above my head.
Eventually, we headed back to Teh Dad's to see what this surprise was.  He had "fixed" my visor issue.  I know Teh Dad has told me since as long as I can remember that he is "deaf" in one ear, that changes randomly (one Sunday it would be the left ear, the next Sunday it would be the right ear.. VERY complicated).  But I never knew Teh Dad was also color blind.  He had purchased TAN visors for my grey interior car.  TAN.  After YEARS of him asking me what color my interior was (same as the outside dad), he bought TAN visors.  The was a LOT of upsetedness.  Pirate Gone Marine tried to talk me down, "he was just trying to help, blah blah blah."  My response: "He's been trying to help for years, and he's been asking me all those years, and I've been telling him, GREY!!!!!"  The best part.  The tan visors had no mirrors, which was why I had kept the holey grey ones to begin with.

Extremely upset, I said I wanted the older, crappier ones back.  While he understood my disappointment, he had tried to surprise me, and he did explain that he felt that solid visors, although the wrong material (vinyl) and the wrong color (tan) was better than crap falling into my eyes, which was a safety hazard (he really liked to use that one against me).  Aaaannnd, because the tan visors didn't come out of a car exactly like mine, he'd had to disassemble the grey, crappy, right color, right material, visor to get the metal corner piece (I'm not a mechanic or a car person, forgive me for not knowing the technical name) to put in the tan visors so they would fit in my car.

Meaning... I was stuck with vinyl, tan, mirrorless visors unless I wanted to purchase some from the dealer or find some visors myself.  STUCK WITH TAN, MIRRORLESS VISORS!  I'm not super picky over appearances, but I am slightly OCD, and damn if it doesn't upset me that my car didn't doesn't match.  Did I mention I was a broke college student?

But, I was stuck like Chuck, so I finally mustered up a frustrated, thank you for trying, and for changing my oil, you're awesome and I'm just your ungrateful heathen child to Teh Dad.

Tan visor, WITH mirror.
Teh BFF had her own issues with my new "installations"... NO mirrors.  "Oh, dammit," was often muttered after she would pull the visor down to try and check her hair/face, "you don't have mirrors."  She would look at me, at which point I'd have a very unsatisfied grimace on my face.  With full sincerity, "Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot its still a sensitive issue."  And this was years later.  Finally, when we moved in together and she was riding in my passenger seat more often, she broke down and bought a mirror for the passenger visor, as she was annoyed with being disappointed every time she tried to use the visor mirror in my car and it was a fail.

Still to this day, when someone new gets in Teh Kaar and questions the ghettoness non-uniformity of the interior of my car, I still get the dissatisfied look on my face and have to explain the story.  Which seems to get slightly funnier as the years pass on, but still is just one of those things that I've struggled to accept.

I'm sure that when I Teh Kaar breaks down and is no more, and I have to get a new car, I'll miss the non-matching visors and the amusement that is the story and effort that Teh Dad really did put into it.  For now though, I still have my stories, and my mismatched visors that still bring me pain to look at.

And for good measure, all these years later, I sometime ask Teh Dad, "Hey, what year is my car and what color is the interior?"  And he'll respond, "96, tan."  Sometimes I really can't tell if he's using his sarcastic font or not...............