>Oh, my….

>That post was a lot longer on the blog than it was on my laptop…. Ah, well. Anybody who slogs through that, I salute you!

We have a holiday routine today– basically, a day off from everything that’s not high priority, to allow time to unwind and go to services. (Before someone gets the wrong idea: we work, at the least, from 0700 to 1900 all week long. This is the second holiday routine we’ve gotten the entire cruise, although we have hit an unusually high number of ports for this ship. Many shops work 0630-2159 with the same shift. The work is easier and the hours are shorter than working on the ranch back home, but that’s about the only thing that beats it.)

Where was I? Digression, digression, my constant obsession…. Ah! I’m able to make this post because of the holiday routine. We pull back into port… um… soon. Sorry so vague, I’m editing what I say because we’re not supposed to give details. If I post “hey! We pull into port in 53 hours! Yay us!” the badguys could get the info and use it. Yes, I believe in bad guys. If you don’t, you’re obviously reading the wrong blog, or you *really want to raise your blood pressure…..

Ah, well. Not really much to post on, just feel like talking. I’m looking forward to the new World of Warcraft expansion– it’s a video game that’s played online. Mom, if you’re reading this, it’s the one that I showed you with all the beautiful rich colors and awesome elf buildings. I’ve got lots of characters, including several human paladins (holy warriors of the light) an orc hunter (with a pet raptor) a troll priest (vaguely voodoo gods, but don’t get worried about it– trolls aren’t exactly role models you need to worry about corrupting the orthodox religious among the gamers. One of the /joke actions makes the characters tell the joke “if cannibalism is wrong, I don’t want to be right!” For Tauren, (see a picture of a troll and a Taurin in the same guild talibards) one of the jokes is “Moo. Are you happy now?” The voices are Jamaican accented and Midwestern, respectively.) I even have an undead character somewhere…. Those guys are creepy! The big one in that link is a guard in the undead city. The history of the undead city is that a Paladin that got corrupted by a demon (demons are just about constantly invading this world, and lots of others) from the Burning Crusade, a group of demons that brought the Orcs into the game world, was a prince of the city when it was a very, very good human city. He killed his dad and most of the city’s population. The undead in the game follow a banshee– a dead elf woman– who “awoke” from the Scourge– the mindless undead. The playable undead are called the Forsaken. They’re trying to wipe out just about everyone, but it’s not really common knowledge yet, and the Orcs are too honorable to reject them. The Tauren are also honorable to go against the Orc Warlord, and the Trolls just don’t give a fig.

The Humans, Elves, Gnomes and Dwarves are on the other side, and are mostly fighting to keep their world from being destroyed.

All those links? They’re from the web site of the company that makes the online game. They’re submitted by players who got their computer to take pictures of their characters. I’m going to try to take pictures of my characters, too, because it’s just neat.

Okey, that’s enough.

>Heartsy-fartsy thinking

>How do you know love?
  It’s not easy, like in cartoons—no hearts around your heads, or in place of your eyes; it’s not as obvious as in movies, since there’s no dramatic music and lingering shots.  Those sources do get one thing right, it seems: you tend to come to accept that you love someone when they’re not there.  As in “My Fair Lady,” you grow accustomed to their face.
  The most basic love, family love, is so much a part of me that I hardly even know it’s there.  It only came out in full force a few times when I was young, but old enough to analyze the emotions: the best example that comes to mind is when my mom came to pick my sister, brother and I up from school.  Kelsey and I got out early, but Ivie had a party at a teacher’s house, so we came back to the school later—when he came out, I felt like something had a hold of my heart.  Sheer anxious terror—and Kelsey had the same response.  I still don’t know what made us freak out, since he wasn’t walking much slower than usual, but by the time he got to the pickup we had the door open and were demanding to know what had happened.  (He fell off of a trampoline at the party.  He was fine, but it scared him because it scared the teacher.  It would have been when Ivie, Kelsey and I were about 12, 13 and 14, respectively.)
  It was a given, to me, that I loved my brother—but a simple word making such an overblown response to someone walking out of a building?  A familiar building we all spent time at most of the year?  So, a good part of love is on a subconscious level.  You don’t constantly say to yourself: “I love this person.  I worry about this person.  I am aware of how this person usually is, even though I wouldn’t be able to describe it, and a change in their behavior would cause a large reaction in my mood and mental state.”
The love of friends is just as basic, for my family, because many of the “family” roles were filled by people who had no blood kinship.  Neighbor was like a young great-aunt or a much older aunt—for several years, I only knew her as Neighbor; to this day, I still can’t call her “Peggy” without thinking first, and I think I’d spontaneously combust before I’d call her “Ms Houser/Howitzer.” (Her late husband’s name, and her maiden name.  That didn’t help my confusion once I was old enough to care that she had other names….)
Does it seem like I’m rambling?  I’m not, exactly.  I just see most things through stories or similes, or at least have an easier time explaining things with them.
Love just confuses me.  I know I’m not alone in that…. But how does one know if one’s feeling “REAL” love?  Maybe all love is real, it’s just a plant that requires the proper care and soil to grow.  That sounds right.
I’m not going to touch on Crushes-Love.  That’s a gray area, since it’s hard to know until they’re over.
I also know Lonely-Love.  Where you’re alone, and you may or may not know it, but someone comes and fills the emptiness for a while… even when you know you don’t love them, you stay, because it’s better than being alone.  Usually, it ends bad—in my case, I trusted someone I shouldn’t have, and I’m glad that all I lost was a few hundred in loans that will never be repaid.
There’s also what I think of as Heart Love—not heart as in the purely romantic heart, but more along the lines of the ancient idea of the heart as being, well, the brain and soul rolled into one.  The center of the being, the way you are when you forget to care about the way you are, and when you do notice you like it, even if you feel like you’re tipping your hand and giving away an advantage.  (See the next para.)  Basically, the way you are around your best of friends—or the way you would be, if you haven’t been fortunate enough to have a Best Friend for many years.  Heart Love tends to grow out of friends.  People you like to just spend time around, or can talk to for hours, or would trust to help you if you were in REAL trouble and you didn’t know where else to turn, even if you hated the idea of turning to anyone.  The same people you trust to tell you if you’re being foolish, and the ones who say what your heart longs to believe when you only halfway believe something good about yourself, and the ones who will occasionally say something totally offhanded that makes your day a thousand times better.  REAL friends.  (The capitals are to show emphasis.  I realize that’s the third time I’ve cap-locked “real.”)  Sometimes you’re lucky enough to avoid the “I don’t want to ruin this friendship!” neurosis and work around the “But what if they want to be Just Friends?” angle…. I can’t be objective about this one, so I’m going to stop, but looking at my family, it seems like this is the best one.
On the idea of “tipping your hand:” if no-one knows the real you, they can’t reject you—they can only reject the mask-you.  Oddly, this reasoning meshes very well with the way of making a mask that people will accept.  I’m not as against this as it might sound—everybody has to adjust themselves somehow to fit into society, even if they don’t realize it.  I tend to think of it in a couple of ways: trellises, armor and fortresses.  Everyone that you’d want to know has some trellises in their social growth, or they’d be unable to function in society.  Some folks stick close to the trellis, like a morning glory, and some only touch on it occasionally, like a climbing rose.  Both can be lovely, and both can be terrible.  (Any smart-a**es that want to say they go up on their own, with out a trellis: bawling infants that wet themselves are about as “natural” to their unformed selves as you can get.  Having something to grow off of is a *good* thing, and it doesn’t destroy your uniqueness.  Have you ever seen two morning glories that have the exact same twines on a trellis?  How about an Ivy plant, for those who want to “branch out”?)  The thing is, the trellis forms how you are, lets you have something to build on.  The armor can be various thicknesses—from the light padding of basic manners to the plate mail of anonymity, the arm-shields of listening before you speak on touchy subjects to the tower shields of never offering what you think on any subject.  Then there’s the fortresses where you form an entire personality, a way of portraying yourself.  Personally, I like the with-guided-tours idea of making people happy as my fortress—it’s something that catches their attention and pulls it towards the more-acceptable aspects of my personality.  Some folks like the we-have-guns-on-the-turrets-aimed-at-you way of their fortress—those folks who are always so angry that nobody wants to spend all that much time around them?  It’s not a constant thing, by any means—I’ve been known to use the “guns” approach when I just don’t want to deal with anyone, and some people take the “happy” angle to the point of insanity.  (I do sometimes go out of my way to make people happy, but I won’t do something I really, really don’t want to for someone who’s not a dear friend or in dire need.)

If anyone can think of something to add, please do.  This came to mind because I was waiting (Welcome to the Navy: hurry up and wait) and I had a pen and paper around.  I’ll probably add to it at some point, but I mightn’t be able to post it when I’m at sea.

>Once again, no posts-

>but I have good reasons.
1) A typhoon. (hurricane)
Actual line that our Captain put out over the 1MC: “This typhoon is a life threatening situation. However, this is also an excellent chance to clean the ship! So grab your brooms and head to your cleaning quarters!” (no, he wasn’t joking. Yes, it was a serious hurricane– we only got word LATER THAT DAY that it was slowing down. We didn’t get so much as a day off, and it was a “super typhoon” two days before. The base was shut down for two days, but not the Essex.)
2) Everyone is suddenly discovering that yes, they did have gear to turn in three months ago when we ask– and they need it tomorrow! (They have khaki and no idea that we do more than put a fresh sticker on gear. Oy.)
3) Stress. Yes, stress. Most evenings I come back to my apartment (I’ll get photos up some time! Promise!) and hang out with Alan, playing WoW. (Sorry, AK guildies– We’re with Like Minded Gamers for the Horde, because they have lots of folks on when we’re on…. I’m nearly to 30 already.)

Short view of Katrina: Dumb Governor. Dumb Mayor. Foolish not to follow the evacuation plan, foolish to refuse the Prez offering to take over the situation days before the storm hit, foolish to leave those busses to flood, foolish, foolish, foolish– and possibly criminally negligent.
Those of you who just bristled and wanted to ask about the Federal Government and/or Bush, they’re doing their job. They did what they were legally allowed to do, as fast as reasonably possible– the response time once they were allowed to get moving was perfectly standard, and the response is the biggest in US history. There are a lot of stupid stories from their side, too, but they’re not the majority.
Anybody who started pulling the race card, either back off or put up your dukes– I’m sick of it.

As y’all can probably tell from the tone of this, I’m a bit short of temper at the moment. I’m fine, just short on patience for slowness.

>Really good article….

>I’ve got to get a blogroll some time.

A blogroll is a list of the web logs that you read.

Right now, the blogroll is well-loved, but nearly empty: It’s got my mom and the Bleat.

To the point: VodkaPundit muses on the essential character of America, as defined by how we react to disaster.

In other news, Sailorette adores the spell check feature.

>Sorry for the silent spell!

>I’ve been working on getting a house! Well, ok, an apartment– but it’s APART from the ship!

I really don’t mind the ship, most of the time, but there are some gals who hang out in berthing when we’re not underway that I REALLY don’t want to be around, and with no A/C in the shop my buddies and I can’t hang out there…. So, getting an apartment lets me chill out in the cool peace of an area with controlled access.

Besides, the Navy will pay for it, since I made second class! (AT2, for those of you keeping track.) {Aviation Electronics Tech, mom.}

The ship is going through SRA, which is basically like taking your car to a really good detailing and repair shop– they’re flushing the water pipes with acid to clean them out (That’s why there’s no AC– everything is water cooled or heated. Yes, they decided to kill the AC in the middle of AUG, in Japan, which averages 85f/60%humidity. Do not expect common sense from the Navy. We get the job done, but we may take an odd route.), replacing floors all over the place, fixing engines, patching the holes in the bottom of the ship (Not dangerous– even the one that was the size of a BMW wasn’t dangerous, but they fixed that a long time ago.)…… A lot of working going on.

Very annoying.

Thankfully, after only five people “fell out”– passed out from the heat and dehydration– we went to tropical hours. 0600-1400 is the ideal work day, which means we start wrapping it up at about 1400. Some divisions do it different, though.

Alan went on leave. He’ll be getting on a plane about now– hopefully. I’m gonna miss him! He’s my main liberty buddy!

I’ll post pictures of the apartment when I have it in my name and somewhat livable!

A former sailor's ramblings on anything from family, country and Church through general geek-ness.