Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Yellow School Bus Takes a Pit Stop at a Navy Warship

So there I was, plodding the corridors of a grey, metallic, slightly aged warship with 15 little kids in tow. It wasn't the first tour I'd given of our fabulous frigate, but definitely one of the youngest tour groups. I did my best to explain the Central Contol Station, the messdecks, the Combat Information Center, and the Bridge in the most layman of laymen's terms (that might not baffle too many 10-12 year olds). But after (and even during) the tour, several of my fellow shipmates said things like, "Seriously? You think they understand the word 'integrated' or 'frequency'?" or "You explained how energy and waves work?" or "Latitude and Longitude?" "I barely could spell my own name, much less solve for 'x' when I was their age."

Really? Really America? Really anyone? I thought my childhood was fairly normal, but I'm pretty sure I would have been intrigued about waves, energy, and I definitely knew the word 'integrated'. Was I a smart kid? Yes. Was I the neighborhood bio-nerd/vet because I memorized entire Audubon society books on reptiles, amphibians, and other critters? Yes. Did I get IQ tested and go to "The Gifted and Talented Program"? Yes. But so what? Kids need to try harder. Kids love new cool information that they've never heard before. People in general have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. It's the information age. I bet you half of those kids had cell phones and that same half probably hasn't read a book over 100 pages. I'm just doing my part to reduce the number of retards (in the appropriate sense of the word; ie: someone who could be smart or above average but has been a slacker because of bad education, choices, environment or Naval Officers babying them on warship tours with kindergarten coloring questions rather than something stimulating). So, you're welcome kids.

It was a fun tour though. The guns and the bridge got the biggest "ooos" and "aaahs". You would expect that. Internal comms were fun to mess with too, especially when people are working in the engineering spaces and they hear a 10 year old say "I like chocolate milk" on the sound-powered 2J circuit while they're trying to do maintenance on the lube oil purifier.

Friday, April 26, 2013

From a Cafe in Sydney

So here I am in front of Toby's Estate Cafe, Expresso School and Roastery in Sydney, Australia, bumming off their free wifi. This might be the one and only Australian post I make on this blog. That being the case, I wanted to take a moment to recognize all the abfab Aussies who have, at one time or another, read this blog. Your country slash continent is beautiful. My traveling companion and I have gone down the emerald coast down to Melbourne, from there to Glenrowan (where Ned Kelly made his last stand), through Kozciuzko National Park (drove by the tallest peak in Australia 2229m, Mt. Kozciuzko), then went to Canberra and back to Sydney. There was plenty of beautiful country to see and great people to meet along the way. It was an adventure to say the least. I wish it could've been longer. But oh well. To the pictures...

Follow me on twitter because google hasn't figured out how to let me pull pics from my ipad. Just follow "McConnaughey"

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Brown Shirt

This article is somewhat of an anachronism. It was meant to be published some time in the middle of last year:

So I'm sure you've seen these shirts:

While generally I find the sentiment crass, I actually experienced a moment where that statement was indeed validating, vindicating and even...a personal victory.

That moment came shortly after I had my appendix removed. 

The white-lab-coat-clad doctor types had prescribed me some sort of weird black pill to "loosen up my bowels" after a fairly substantial duration of going without my regular porcelain project #2. So as I took the vicodin/percocet with religious devotion, I was no less devoted to this pill.

But even so, the shirt's victorious refrain was not brought to fruition without much trial and adversity. I'll spare you the vivid details, but I will allude to another theory I have to bring the appropriate mental picture to full focus.

So I'm sure you're familiar with full moons and the effect they have on pregnant women, tides, and romance. Well, similarly I have found that some of the largest donations I have ever made to the ivory throne in the bathroom have occurred during full moons. And these are not requited in the least. They generally resemble young brown whales, often times breaching and even beaching themselves on the lip of the bowl. It seems almost impossible that such monstrosities can be expended from intestines of such a known and finite dimension. The event requires an almost birthing effort. Inexplicable. Yet it happens.

So that first victory after surgery was similar in how grand an event it was. A rather large, and generally unrelatable victory. Well, not in polite company anyway. But, you aren't polite company. Not today at least.