Gainesville Ramblings

This is a blog, and thus it barely qualifies as writing, let alone formal writing, so I'd not let it bother you.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Of Togas, Habits, and Dehydration

Last night, I was leaning against a railing outside a bar at the Jacksonville Landing, looking down on the river. There were boats, both large and small, tied up to the docks. It was a clear night with the stars and the moon shining down, and a cool, pleasant breeze was blowing off the water. I was a bit tipsy, I had a beer in my hand, and I was wearing a toga.

Well, I thought, this is a change.

Its sad, really. Three weeks out of OCS, and everything still comes back to that time I spent there. I find myself saying 'Aye, sir' when someone asks me to do something. And if I don't actually say it, that's only because I've managed to barely suppress the urge. I occasionally find myself pivoting my corners, and I always feel weird walking around in my civies and not having a hat on when I go outside. But that's OK. These things will die down. Instead, what's worst is the disconnect I feel.

When I got out, I threw myself back in my old life with abandon. Oh sure, I wore my uniform a lot, but that's just because I think I look good in it, plus I worked damn hard to earn the privilege of wearing it. But I reconnected with my old friends, went to where ever they were, and did all the old things I did before with them. But it soon dawned on me: I'm not who I used to be. And its taking me a while to figure out exactly who this new Matt is. I have a feeling I won't know this new me very well until I get up to Virginia and start doing real work, not the make work I'm stuck with now. But in a effort to find something this new Matt may like, I checked out a new club.

I first heard about the Hash House Harriers, like most things involving drinking, from Travis. I heard him talk about it off and on in Gainesville, and they sounded vaguely interesting. I mean, its a drinking club, with occasional exercise. But I became busy and exercise dropped way way way off my lists of priorities. I didn't think about them again until I was at National Convention in New Orleans.

Early one oppressively humid morning, as I stumbled down Bourbon Street, drinking water in a effort to stave off dehydration and fix the pounding hangover I was suffering from, I saw a man walk by in a red dress. Well, its New Orleans. Its a wierd place, I thought. Then I saw another. And another. Then a dozen. Then a a few score walked by. I started chugging out of my Nalgene, thinking was may been a hallucination caused by my brain swelling from lack of liquid.

Travis saw this too, and started getting really excited. "Its the Red Dress Run!" he shouted. He ran up to a group and started talking to them. He talked about trying to find a red dress of his own, but nothing ever came of that. And then he told us that these were Hashers, and they have an annual run where everyone, even all the guys, wear red dresses. I resolved to check out if there was a group of these people in Jacksonville when I got back. I promptly forgot this.

So I spent seven months in Jacksonville complaining that I hated running by myself and hating that I really didn't know anyone in town. I wish I hadn't forgotten that the Hashers existed.

I finally made it to one of their runs this past Wednesday. It was a fun trail through Riverside and Five Points, with beer at the beginning, beer at the end, and beer in the middle. The people were weird, but in a way I enjoy, and they had strange and often hilarious rituals that made me want to learn everything, even as I stood there confused about what, exactly, was going on.

And I found out there was a fairly big weekend long event happening starting on Friday. So I figured, why the hell not. I might as well dive right in. I reserved the hotel room, paid the registration fee, and boom: I was participating in Sex ON ON.

There were two pub crawls. There were kegs in the tubs of hotel rooms. I had a small bar stocked in my room. There was an 8+ mile run/walk through downtown Jacksonville (and some of the finer ghetto around). There was a chance of dehydration and heat exhaustion, as the run happened in mid afternoon, and I was already fighting a hangover from the previous night. There were attractive girls, one of whom I spent most of both nights dancing with (and actual dancing, mind you. Like with spins and everything). And there was a toga party.

And all I can think while all this is happening is Well, this is a change.

The past two years of my life have been a long series of transitional periods. The transition from school to work, from engagement to singleness, from home to living on my own to home again, from civilian to military, from OCS to the real world. But in all this time, I think the feeling I have, the frustration I live with, is that I'm not moving on. I'm not meeting new people who I want to be friends with (and I need a little time and space away from my friends in OCS to know what's going on with most of them). I'm not doing what I want to do with life. I'm not seeing new things. I'm not doing anything that means anything in the long run, not even for me.

Hashing doesn't mean anything, but its something new. Something fun. And full of surprises and interesting people (really, really interesting people). And for right now, that's good enough. Plus its fun, and that's something I've come to treasure.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Meeting Happy Matthews

An event I forgot in my blog post before took place walking down Broadway in Newport on Sunday morning. I'm adding this now, because it was something really want to remember.

I spent alot of Sunday wandering around Newport, looking for various items, or seeking things I had been craving. One of my first stops, of course, was the local comic shop. The shop didn't have a whole lot going for it, but I was able to order 5 through 8 of the Y: The Last Man trade paperbacks (should be here by Thursday. Sweet.) And then, having been craving a good burrito for months, I went looking for a place a had found online.

On my way back to my car, I noticed there were cops on just about every corner. And when I finally got to the side street where my car was parked, I found it blocked off by a barricade. I asked the officer at the intersection what was going on. He responded: "There's a parade. Aren't you in it?"

This is probably a good time for me to mention that I was in my liberty uniform: summer whites, with short sleeves, shoulder boards, and combination cover. And Newport, from what I've gathered is a weird town, in that half the people here know about OCS, so when they see people wandering around the area in uniform on a weekend, they know its Officer Candidates on liberty. The other half just think its cocky Navy guys who want free food and beer, hence why they never take off their uniform.

Since my car was stuck in its current parking space, I decided to walk to the burrito place. Nothing, not even a police parade, was going to stop me from getting a roll of Mexican goodness. And plus, the walk was great. I got to see real life happening for the first time in months. There were little kids running under foot, yelling. Couples set up chairs outside their houses and cuddled in the cool, damp New England weather. A few people were having parties in their front porches, enjoying beer and the company of friends as they waited for the parade to pass.

I smiled as I walked along Broadway, enjoying the weather, enjoying the people, enjoying the feeling of being a part of the world again. And then, as I'm about to cross a street, so close to the burrito shop that I could see its sign, I heard someone call out, "How's the school treating you?"

I turned to find an elderly man in a 'Rhode Island State Police' hat sitting in a folding chair, looking at me. At first, I was slightly annoyed. I mean, burrito. But then I remembered that one of the reasons (OK, it was a very minor reason, but a reason none the less) I joined the Navy was to have exactly these conversations. The random ones with strangers who want to talk about the Navy and the military, or a veteran who wants to reminisce.

So I walk up, shake hands with the man, who turns out to have the awesome name of Happy Matthews, and we start talking. He actually reminded me a little of my grandfather, in that he just wanted to tell stories about his life. He said he had served as a torpedoman in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific. He told me of his battle stories, how the Escort Carrier he served on avoided being sunk by inches. He told me about his twenty years as a officer and a detective with the Rhode Island State Police. He told me his thoughts on taxes (too high), government (he actually was a fan of Obama), racial profiling (you had to do it, and its not nearly prevenlent enough to worry about), and just about everything else there is to talk about.

I stood there, talking to this 84-year-old for nearly half an hour. And honestly, it was probably one of the most enjoyable conversations of my life. It may have been just that I haven't had the chance to do something like this for a while. It certainly helped that Happy is a much better conversationalist than I am, and had no problem picking up the slack when I was unable to. And it helped that it was a beautiful day out, just cool enough that wearing a jacket felt good, but not too cold that other layers were needed.

After a while, my stomach started making its presence known, and I had to shake Mr. Matthews' hand and wish him a good day and a good life. It isn't till just now as I'm typing this that I realize what a mistake that was. My stomach could have waited. The buritto wasn't going anywhere. But I will probably never talk to Happy Matthews again. And that is my loss.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Think of Me at Lunch on Thursday...

...For I shall be eating with a fork. Yes, that is right my friends. A fork. And I'll be able to sit back in my chair and talk as I eat. And choose what I put in my fat, disgusting mouth. It'll be awesome!

As for how life is going here at Officer Candidate School, for the first time, I can say its going...good. And it feels really weird to be writing that. But don't start thinking that I'm liking this place. I don't, and probably never will. But I can now say that this is not the most miserable time or place that I've experienced. Its only like the 5 or 6th now.

So what has made things so good? Quite simply, its free time. I suddenly find myself at many times with nothing to do. So I read books or go surf the net, or get work done that doesn't need to be done for weeks yet.

The free time came about due to a change in status. After Monday morning's Out-PFA, we were done with everything we are required to do to graduate. There are other things to do, but no more graded evolutions. No more morning PT. No more classes. No more defined chow times. We were left to out own devices, to sink or swim on our own. And then, on Tuesday, we found out our 'billets,' or jobs that we would be doing for the next three or four weeks. I'm Regimental Med Body, which means my job is to take care of sick and injured people who pile up in OCS.

This may sound tough, but really, its not. I spend about 2 hours every morning making sure everyone who needs to go to sick call makes it there and gets taken care of. And then I need about 30 minutes at night to put the paperwork together for the next day. And other than that...I'm done. I'm finished. I'm complete. So I have books to read, slideshows to make, presentations to put together. And naps to take. Wonderful, wonderful naps.

Its actually really confusing, because for the last 8 weeks, I've been required to be busy. I wasn't given another choice. But then this week, I'm sitting around. I felt guilty. Heck, I still feel guilty. Some people are working really hard, and others ( are not. I offer to help, but theres really not a whole lot for me to do. So I sit in my room, close the door, and try not to be noticed.

Other than that, not a whole lot to report. I'm heading back to base in about an hour, gotta put in a few hours of work, and then sleep. Precious, precious sleep. I'm sitting in Panera right now, and looking around. This is apparently the place all the local college girls go to study and eat on Sundays, and I'm enjoying myself immensely with this fact. I'm not used to girls having hair and trendy and good looking clothes anymore. Its strange. I was supposed to go out last night and enjoy this fact, but since I fell asleep at 8pm (I'm sorry, 2000), I missed out. I'm not complaining actually. Females will always be there. Sleep is needed now.

Also, I now have my cell phone on me at all times (perks of the job), so if you want to get a hold of me, or just find yourself bored, feel free to give me a call. I can't always guarantee that I can talk, but most of the time, I can.

Looking forward to seeing you all,

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Drill Comp Video

You can't see me, as I'm all the way in the back, but here is Honor Class 12-08's Drill Comp Video. We scored a 104.1, but probably should have gotten higher.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Humanity Approaches

Currently, I'm sitting on a couch in my room at the Holiday Inn Express outside Newport, RI. For the first time, class 12-08 has been granted overnight, off-base liberty, and I am taking full advantage of it. And while I like my class and my classmates alot, I don't feeling like going out with them to the bars and clubs of downtown Newport. No offense to them, but I've spent 8 weeks with all of them, with never any time for myself. No time to read a book, no time to veg out in front of the TV, no time to go for a walk outside now that the weather has finally become nice, no time to watch a movie, no time for sleep, no time to be by myself and think for a while.

So I'm sitting in my room at midnight on Saturday night, watching Die Hard on DVD and enjoying my first glass of milk in 8 weeks. I have three new Science Fiction books that I plan to devour over the next few weeks, and listening to the music I've missed since the beginning of March.

OCS proceeds. Another week down, four more to go. I've had a song going through my head for the past week: the opening number from the Buffy musical episode (yes, I'm a nerd) called 'Going Through the Motions.' That may give you some idea of my thoughts and motivations as my time at OCS comes to an end. I'm not looking to excel here. I'm looking to get out of here and go on with life.

Something that you realize around the time that you are getting beaten during RLP here at OCS is that Officer Candidate School isn't real. I've talked to people who have 5, 8, 10 years in the Navy who are in OCS, and they have no idea what this place is trying to teach people. Personally, I think the 'School' part of the OCS is kind of a joke. The academics here are horrible and pointless. I've learned more about the Navy in talking to my Chief for an hour than I have in dozens of hours of classes. And most of the stuff in OCS is based on people being Surface Warfare Officers. But very few people are SWOs. Most are Supply, or Aviation, or spooks of some kind.

OCS is a filter, to see who wants to be a Naval Officer. I'm 8 weeks down, 4 weeks to go, and frankly, I think I learned all I needed to know about myself and what OCS can offer me after week 6. Now, my goal is to keep my head down, get the hell out of here, and get on with life.

But for the next few weeks, things are looking up. Liberty is happening, which provides a welcome break from everything. Orders are starting to trickle in, meaning I should be finding out what I'm going to be doing for the next while soon. And as we get closer to the end, we start to become more human. Our Chief Petty Officer laughs and jokes with us, tells us sea stories and about her life. Our DI starts letting us do things like snort when he says something funny without killing us. We move to a new hallway where we're left more alone. And Monday is our last day of PT ever, meaning we can start to PT on our own, meaning I can start running in the afternoon and evening, maybe even do some weight lifting.

Also, I posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook, and hope to post a bunch more tomorrow. I'm also trying to upload the drill comp video, but its a rather massive file, so it might take a while. Hopefully I'll have it done soon. If you need anything, give me an email at And I should be putting together a facebook invite for drinking in NYC on May 24th soon. Like I've said before, your all invited, if you can make it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

One more week down...

This past week passed really very quickly, and it had its up and downs.

The ups was basically the USS Buttercup. Its a leak simulator, where you learn how to do damage control on a ship. But really, its an excuse to dive into a room filled with water up to our necks, and try to hammer large pieces of wood in place so the water stops. It was a lot of fun.

Actually, there were two drills, and the first time wasn't a whole lot of fun, if only because I was 'On Site Leader,' so I was in charge of everyone. This is with about 1 hour of training, so I had no idea what I was doing. And when I forgot to step on the hoses running around the deck, and stepped over it, the guy running the simulation declared I was dead.

The second drill was alot more fun, because I got to actually go into the water and try to fix something. Now that was fun.

As for the rest of the week, it was really bipolar. One day would be horrible, because our DI was pissed at our drill practice. The next was great, because our 6th week Personal Inspection went really really well. And then Friday sucked, because it was a day a class graduated, and the DIs like beating thier classes on graduation day, to remind them they haven't graduated yet. And then Saturday was great, because our DI was really happy with our drill practice. So, basically, it was really topsy turvy, and I have very little reference to know what is actually going on.

As for this upcoming week, we have drill comp on Wednesday. The good thing about that is that Drill will finally, finally, be over. I'm getting sick and tired of drill, especially this past week, when we've been doing it for at least two or three hours a day. And then a test in 'Movement Boards' which isn't that hard, just something that's completely foreign, so alot of people are freaking out.

But the good news is this: I have 6 more weeks of OCS. 2 weeks of the same old crap. 2 weeks of slightly less crap, in nicer quarters (King Hall here I come!) where I'm allowed my cell phone and laptops and food and to go to the commisary. And then 2 more weeks where I run the place and can leave base. This is the home stretch. I can make it.

I miss talking and hearing from all of you. I can't wait to catch up with everyone, and find out how your life has been going. But until then, try to survive without me. Yeah, I know its hard.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

5 weeks down, 7 to go.

Hey everyone,

Thought I'd give you an update.

Things suck, but thats no change. This past week dragged on, and hopefully this next week will fly by, as actual interesting things will happen, like fire fighting classes and leak simulators. And maybe, just maybe, we might get liberty this weekend.

As for everything else, I'm surviving, and I'll get through this. But don't think I'm counting down the days till I'm out of here.

Also, I know this posts on facebook, but I can't really get into there from here. So if you want to comment, go to my blog at Also, if you want to email me, my email address here is

I have so many stories to tell all of you, but they are so bat shit crazy, that you wouldn't believe them if I wasn't there in person. So you'll have to wait.

One more thing: Rachel, if you read this, I don't know what the Navy has planned for me after I get out of here, but if I'm free, I'm coming to your wedding. So count me in. I'll let you know if plans change. Also, I'll be there in my dress white uniform, so single ladies, be ready for that.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

If you want to know what I'm going through...

Check this out:

I don't think I have it quite as bad as that class, but that don't make OCS any easier.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Update from OCS

I'm still alive. I'm tired, I'm sore, I haven't eaten with a fork or knife or like a human in three weeks. But I'm three weeks down, 9 weeks to go. I can do that.

I wanted to quit after the first week, but I stuck it out, and things are...better now. Good would be an exaggeration. But I'm surviving. And I'll get through this. Also, if all works out, and I graduate as planned on May 23rd, I'll be in NYC on 24th and getting very very drunk. Everyone is welcome.

There are stories I can tell, but I don't really have time right now. They're better in person.

Thanks to everyone who wrote me letters, they've really helped me out. I miss all of you, and hope to talk to you all soon.

Matt (Or Officer Candidate McKenzie)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

An Update on the Navy

First off, I want to thank everyone who's encouraged me, congratulated me, or checked up on me the past few weeks. I really appreciate all the concern and encouragement I've gotten from my friends, and it really helped me along in this process.

So, I'm done. I've done everything I need to do to join the Navy. I passed my PRT (Physical Readiness Test) by the skin of my teeth. This, of course, doesn't mean I have the luxury of relaxing. I actually need to work harder than I have to get myself ready for the struggle that will be Officer Candidtate School.

Oh, you want to know what that will be like? Take a look at these videos.

(If you can't see the video, you can watch it at:

Yes, that appears to be alot of pushups very early in the morning. Did I tell you how much fun this is going to be?

And then I'll have to learn how to do this:

I know, that looks to be right up my alley.

And then I found this last week, which describes how I'll be eating for 8 weeks:

Previously, we had to do something called “eat by the numbers,” which is the standard method of eating for all junior training classes: a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, Class Chief Petty Officer, or Candidate Officer (a member of the senior class on deck) says “one,” and every student snaps their heads to within 4 inches of the plate of food. At “two” they pick up their “War Spoon” (the official name of an OCS soup spoon); “three” and we scoop up as much food as we can. “Four,” the spoon and food go in our mouths. “Five,” we remove the spoon, replace it on the tray, and check that everything is properly “grounded” (touching): the tray is flush with the edge of the table, and the two glasses are grounded in the upper left hand corner of the tray, touching the edge of the tray; the plate is grounded to the bottom center, with the War Spoon grounded to the bottom edge of the tray and grounded tangent to the plate. On “six,” we snap back up to attention, with our feet at a 45-degree angle, heels touching, feet on the port side of the table support (even if that table support is well to the side –- which often leads to significant contortion), and with the “thousand-yard stare.” On “seven,” we are allowed to chew, and on “eight,” we are allowed to swallow. The process then repeats.
So what happens now?

Right now, I'm waiting on getting my official orders, which will tell me when I have to report to Newport, RI. I'm predicting being up there in Mid-Februray. So if you live anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard, expect an email/call for my long and leisurely roadtrip up the I-95 corridor.

Hopefully, I'll get at $25,000 check in the next few weeks (thanks USAA!), so I can quit Starbucks and focus on running. And pushups. And running. And situps. And running.

The work out plan, for those who are wondering, is as follows:

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I will get up at 6am, change, drink half a liter of water, do a .8 warm up run, do pushups, situps, and then run 1.5 miles as fast as possible. This at least somewhat accurately represents what will happen at OCS.

On Tuesday and Thursday, I will also get up at 6am, change, drink, and then run 3 miles, followed by bear crawls and 8-count body builders and any other PT-esque workouts I can find. It'll be fun!

So thats whats happening in my life. Once I actually find out when I'm leaving, I'll let you all know so that we can arrange for adequate pre-death hanging out time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

OK, Now You Can Offically Sing 'In The Navy'

So in case you didn't hear, yes, I got accepted into the Navy. I thought I'd let everyone know what this means, in order to answer what I assume are your many questions.

First off, I am actually not in the Navy yet. What I am is 'Professional Accepted.' This means that a bunch of guys many pay grades higher than I will be got together in a room, looked at my application, test scores, and employer references and said, "This guy looks good. Let him in."

There are still a few things I need to do. The first and most important is pass my Physical Readiness Test (PRT). This involves 47 push ups and 58 sit ups in two minutes (not the same two minutes) and a mile and a half run in 12 minutes. I'm not there yet, but getting accepted is a huge motivation booster. I just got back from a 2.75 mile run/jog. I've never run that far before in my life.

Second, for those wondering, no I did not get into Intelligence. I got into Surface Warfare (which I've learned is shortened to SWO, pronounced S-Whoa). However, I didn't get NOT get into Intel. The Intel guys just haven't gotten into that room to look over my application yet. I'm going to give them that time and not jump into SWO immediately.

Finally, many may be wondering where I go from here. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure. I need to talk to my recruiter more. But assuming I pass my PRT, I get into Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island. where I will wear a uniform all the time, cut my hair real short, and be forced to work out every morning at 5AM. Yes, I know, it sounds right up my alley, huh?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Quotes From This Weekend

A great many very stupid things were said this weekend. We wrote down only a few. Here's the best of them. Some names have been changed to at least somewhat protect the very very guilty.

Matt: Once Lex whips his penis out, I'm calling the Highway Patrol.
(Mind you, we had started mooning each other about 15 minutes into the roadtrip.)

DuBo to Abbi: We need to meet guys who aren't gay.

Matt: (In reference to Casey Dick, quarterback to the Arkansas Razorbacks) The guy's name is Dick and he throws like his arm is a limp penis.

Matt: This may end up with us all squealing like a pig.

Matt: We are so gonna die!
(Swerves car sharply)
Dying right now!

Abbi, impersonating Lex: I'll show you my dick, have a beer.

Matt: I'm so torturing my kids.
Dubo: You have to find a woman to have sex with you first.

Matt: Amos, repeat after me...bastard hung up on me.

Random USC fan (who is male): Are you ans of the Cock?

Matt: We're drinking somewhere, then driving somewhere.

Drunk SC girl: Fuck Florida, Fuck Florida, Fuck Florida...Not gonna lie, you're gonna win.

Abbi: I told you, you should have a shirt that says, "Hey, I'm Matt and I'm a douchebag."

The following quotes were recorded during a very...informative game of Ring of Fire. Names have been changed where embarrassing.

Bill: Have you ever had sex in a room with a toilet...a room with a toilet, not having sex with the toilet.

Alex (referring to someone saying Marching Band was a sport): If there are really fat kids in it, its not a sport.

(After someone blamed a SC brother for waking them up with by sex noises)
SC Brother: It was my phone!
Matt: Your phone goes "Oh! Oh! Oh!"

Matt: Have you ever had sex at one of the 7 Wonders of the World?
Darcy: That's nothing to be ashamed of!

Andrew: I said "Yahtzee!" on Bourbon St? That's just about the greatest story ever!

SC Bro 1: Have you ever had sex in the ocean?
SC Bro 2: (kinda stunned): ...No!
SC Bro 3: Doesn't that burn?
SC Bro 1: No!

SC Bro 1 (in reference to a question about how many people someone had slept with): 29 people? Don't you know how dangerous that is?
Bill: Yeah, but there are jellyfish in the ocean.

Andrew: Since I've got here, I've had much many.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Internet Meme Time: Am I a Manly-Man, or simply Self-Sufficient?

Via Andrew Sullivan:

There are two lists going around the interwebs right now that tell you what you need to know to be a man, or self-sufficient. The first, from Popular Mechanics, tells you the "25 Skills Every Man Should Know." Below is the list, with what I can do bolded. Also, I should mention I claim to know it if I am reasonably sure that if I was presented with the task, I could figure it out without looking it up on the internet.

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire

8. Fix a dead outlet

9. Navigate with a map and compass

10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR

13. Fillet a fish

14. Maneuver a car out of a skid

15. Get a car unstuck

16. Back up data

17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete

19. Clean a bolt-action rifle - This may change very soon
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat

25. Extend your wireless network

This gives me a manliness percentage of...72%. Wow. Apparently, I'm alot manlier than I thought. In that case, remember ladies, I'm available.

I know, it's amazing this man is not snatched up by a beautiful woman.

The second list was drawn up in protest against Popular Mechanics' list. This one presents the reader with 20 tasks that any self-sufficient adult should be able to do in 2007. Same criteria applies to the above list:

1. Know basic nutritional needs & how to plan balanced meals
2. Hone your sense of direction & navigation so you don’t need step-by-step turns to find a location
3. Understand types of health insurance & terminology such as OOP max & co-insurance percentage
4. Maintenance of a personal computer
5. In-depth knowledge of your employment benefits
6. Change a flat tire
7. Wash & iron clothes
8. Balance a checkbook & manage your finances
9. Patch holes in walls
10. Fix a clogged toilet
11. Jump start a car
12. Use public transportation to get around
13. Write an effective resume cover letter
14. Professional oral & written communication
15. Basic math
16. Stay calm in emergencies
17. Know when to ask for help
18. Personal hygiene
19. Do your own taxes
20. Use internet search engines strategically (if you know how to do good searches, you can find any information you need on the web)

And according to this I am...80% self sufficient. I am officially a B- quality adult! Wooo! Now all I have to do is stop living at my parent's.

UPDATE: I just found this list of things Robert A. Heinlein, Science Fiction Author and all around manly man, said that all human being should be able to do:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
OK, Heinlein. You win. I am not a man. I'm pretty sure that however I die, it would not be gallantly.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And so it goes, so it goes

I should really write here more often. The one time a month I feel like writing, I find myself with pages of things to talk about. And the one thing I've discovered with this blog is that if I write, "I'll finish tomorrow," I never, ever will.

So this is lengthy. Brace yourself.

- The latest news: I've got a new job. I'm now the proud maker of these:
OK, proud is a grand exaggeration. I got the job at Starbucks near my house yesterday after a behavioral interview that was probably the most I've lied in an hour in my life. I could have spent half an hour trying to find an actual answer to "Name a time that you took the ethical high road that was harder than the other paths that you might have taken at a job you had." Instead, I started telling stories, and quite good ones at that. And obviously, they were believable enough, as I got the job.

Some of you may be wondering why I needed this job, as haven't I been bragging about the sweet deal I had working for my dad? Well I did. But my dad decided to ruin it all by herniating two discs in his back. For the last two weeks, he's been writhing in pain on our living room floor, unable to work all that much. This, of course, sucks for both him and me. Him, because of all the pain. Me, cause I want to buy things. So the new job became necessary.

By the way, let me rant for a moment on the state of the health care system in the United States. My parents' insurance, to put it mildly, blows. Since Dad is an independent businessman and has no large corporate structure to help pay for it, his insurance is incredibly expensive and nearly useless. I was there in the office two weeks ago last Thursday when my dad hobbled into his office and collapsed on the floor. There he's stayed, pretty much, ever since. And it takes until this upcoming Friday to finally get him into surgery, even though we've known what's wrong with him for the last 10 days? Thats Fucked Up.

Moving on.

- Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge was a very good time. I did not have a ticket, and in the end, I'm glad I didn't. A few weeks before, I had asked someone by the name of 'LSUJoshua' on the chat board for EverydayShouldBeSaturday's Sunday radio show about places to check out in Baton Rouge. He instead invited me to his tailgate. This worked out wonderfully. I watched the game there, and being the only Gator fan there was hilarious, especially as we were winning for most of the game.
LSUJoshua (on left). As awesome as he is good looking.

Another good decision I had: not buying the incredibly obnoxious Orange and Blue Overalls. Man those things were bad. I'm not a guy who likes drawing the attention of strangers to myself (among friends, I'm an ass. But you know this already). Being the one guy in a muted orange shirt among 7 people in bright Orange and Blue Overalls made this easy. I had alot of people not tell me to fuck off because of this.

A word on the atmosphere of LSU: Everything is much more...confrontational, as well as being much more concentrated. All the tailgating is squeezed into a relatively tiny space. Compared to Florida, where there is tailgating along the whole area of campus, and alot off. This leads to alot more people, which leads to people being, well, assholes.

After 10 hours of having 'Tiger Bait!' yelled at me, and thousands of fingers pointed at me, I started getting really angry. I started yelling back "Yeah, haven't heard that one yet," or "Think of something new already!" It took me a while to figure out what exactly was pissing me off, but I think it was a combination of two things:

1) It was constant, and it was all they had. LSU fans, presumably, went to a fairly good school and got a fairly good education. Something original, or maybe just one or two more taunts would have been awesome, and really shown that those thousands of dollars your parents spent (or you took out in loans) were not put to waste.

2) The pointing. I guess I don't like being pointed at. If the cheers had just been people screaming 'Tiger Bait!' I probably would have been fine. But the pointing that goes along with it, especially when its a couple of dozen people, made me very very angry. I think it probably has something to do with bad memories of middle school, as most of my pet peeves do. But it really got to me, and I was glad when everyone left for the stadium, as I could finally walk around in peace.

But overall, it was a great trip. Great food (the gator was really good), the people were friendly (on a one-on-one basis), and the game good. If the Gators have to lose to the number one team in the country, that's the way to do it.

-The Navy. I'm getting closer, much closer. I had my physical last weekend, weighed in at 199 pounds. This, of course, marks the first time I've been under 200 pounds since, probably Senior year of college. It is also about 13 pounds more than the Navy would like. However, I only need to lose another 2 percent body fat to meet standards. As I've been living entirely on salads, protein shakes, and chicken breasts, combined with running, going to the gym, and doing various other physical activities (changing the oil on a Honda Civic is hard work), I should have no problem dropping that fat. I'm getting measured again on Friday. Maybe I can fool my body into looking thinner. Where'd I put that corset.

- I met Jimmy Carter last week at Costcos. Why the hell he was signing books there is beyond me, but the chance to meet our best ex-president is one you don't pass up.