Lords of Discipline

A view of the Citadel

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated. Kings Bay has been a great experience, and I’m learning a lot about the town. Work has been laid back from the start and I’ve been enjoying it, even when I have to stand some stupid watch. Last Saturday I got called up right as I was going to bed. I laid my head down on the pillow and as soon as I closed my eyes, I got a call from the quarter deck asking where I was and why I was late for watch. Someone had apparently penciled my name into the watch bill and never bothered to, you know, tell me about it. I explained it to the Petty Officer of the Watch and he says, “Oh, well, in that case… Surprise!” So, I stood that. Tonight I have the 1:30 AM watch in an empty building. Eh, oh well. (As a side note, I wanted to update this to mention that I got a call at 11:30 PM asking where the the guy before me was — and the guy they wanted had broken his leg, and it’s been broken for a month — so I ended up standing watch for a ridiculous amount of time. Love this stuff!)

So, I’ve been doing some reading in my down time and it’s really turned out to the be the best book I’ve read in years. I’ve read a few books since I’ve been in the Navy, but this is far the best. I’ve been name dropping it to everyone I see, but I’m not sure anyone will share in the zeal that I’ve accumulated. But, I’ll rub it in your face once more and talk about how it relates to me. It’s called “The Lords of Discipline” and it’s by Pat Conroy. It’s hard to describe in one sentence because it does so many things. The book is about Charleston in the 1960s, the Citadel (a military university in the city), how the city’s social politics work. But, at heart, it’s about becoming a man (or growing up, I suppose), fighting the system, and how it changes you. Definitely something that anyone who has lived in Charleston should check out, and it applies to everyone who has been in the military — but it also just appeals to anyone’s memories about growing up too. Like I said, hard to characterize it fully until you’ve read it for yourself.

It does a good job of showing Charleston in a different light. As a Nuke, I was stationed in Goose Creek, a ways up north into a swampy, stinky area (largely due to the nearby sewage processing plant). I’d have to drive into the city to see the city, and what I usually saw was a bunch of tourist traps by day and a bunch of expensive bars with stuck up girls by night. I’ve ran into some true Charlestonians before and they really do have an attitude that they are God’s only gift to this Earth, and especially much more sophisticated and cultured than the Navy folk stationed there. I remember talking to a girl when I was first going downtown and she told me she didn’t like to associate with us because we’re dumb little kids who could not make it in college. I explained to her that I had a degree and that I was older, but I think my words were lost on her. People just have their ways set about them. And, the author explains it far better than I could.

Observers have described Charlestonians as vainglorious, obstinate, mercurial, verbose, xenophobic, and congenitally gracious. Most of all, they elude facile description, but they do possess a municipal character that has a lot to do with two centuries of scriptural belief that they are simply superior to other people of the earth. If you do not subscribe to this theory or are even offended by it, well, it simply means that you are from “away”, that you are obviously not a Charlestonian.

Go out and buy this book right now.

The book describes some of this, though it romanticizes it to the point where I was I could experience Charleston the way that the characters did — the sights, sounds, and even smells of the city. Somehow he even makes the world’s worst humidity into something beautiful (and I’m thankful he mentioned the hordes of mosquitoes and biting gnats). Or perhaps the author is just nostalgic and remembers it in a fond light. I similarly think of San Antonio and the King William District, where there was such an old culture of money surrounded by a sprawling city. That city will always have a place in my heart, and I would give anything to live in it again. Then again, maybe I am just craving cheap Mexican food, dollar wells at Crabby Jacks with Christian, frat parties at Sam’s house, and drunken club adventures with Faber. Those memories are more dear to me because I spent four hard years at Trinity, some of the best years of my life with some of the best people.

I imagine everyone has this kind of nostalgia about the moments when they transition from being a kid fresh out of their hometown and thrust into a new environment. The longer I stayed, the more I grew as a person and moved on. Then I ended up in the Navy, ready to be a grown up, and then ultimately treated much like a kid again. I’m eager to “grow up” in the Navy and get to the point I want to be. Even as stupid as the Navy can be, I’m learning to love it very fast. I might not have memories tied to a specific city, but I have them tied to my buddies and the experiences we have.

“Spring Break” 2011

I’m putting that in quotation marks because I no longer have a Spring Break because I have somehow turned into an adult. That said, I really needed to catch up with all the people I have been telling I would catch up with for years — and this is the perfect time to do it before I ship out on May 17th. Pretty much everything worked out time wise, so I decided to take off this past Wednesday and head into Austin for South by Southwest (or SXSW), which is basically a festival films, technology, art, music, and food. So, uh, pretty much everything I like in one place at one time!

Having a slightly inebriated converstaion with Angelo, the CEO of deviantART

So, Wednesday I headed to Austin for my first event, a Texas devMeet with a lot of the core staff (and friends!) from deviantART which was put on at the Spider House off Guadalupe. I met a lot of new folks because it drew such a crowd, which was nice, but it was also comforting to see the rest of the Texas devMeet guys from our annual meets. We’re pretty much family now. Lots and lots of history there. Interesting how bonds like that form.

I got to talk to Ryan, the creative/marketing guru for dA, and I think we talked way too long about demographics, but for us it was an enjoyable experience. And, of course, I got to see my former bosses, Heidi and Danie, who were pretty awesome. And finally, I had a few drunken rambling conversations with Angelo, the dA CEO and all around badass. During this entire time, I was working on getting completely plastered, at which I completely succeeded.

Finally, we headed to another venue to wrap up the night and I really can only say that I hope they expected me to be truly a memorable experience. I was all kinds of nuts that night for a lot of complicated reasons. In turn, if I ever get to meet them all again some day, I believe I will be “that guy”. Ha.

Thankfully, I survived the night and found a place to stay. I ended up getting some breakfast with Charlie, one of the elite SXSW photographers this year, and a Texas devMeet regular and had more random conversations about life. Good times.

Koreana, the world's best place to eat. This is not an exaggeration.

Following that, I headed into San Antonio to link up with Christian and see if he had been betting his life savings on the field. We hit up Koreana off Rittiman and had the best meal in the entire world. I forwarded this image to Dan and he instantly started crying. What a baby. After that, I linked up with KJ, Dylan, and Craig (and worked in a trip to Taco Taco with KJ the following morning before heading out). Then, we did Bays, like the classic Trinity experience where an entirely hammered Rob showed up. Of course, we managed to get to Crabby Jacks (and didn’t even get kicked out). I got to see Stephanie again, which was nice, even though she lost all of my elite CD collection.

After hanging out with Rob for a while that next day (until Ariel came in town!), I got a call from Brennan, the source of my exploits from last year’s spring break. I headed that way and met him in Austin for a SXSW feature about the future of technology in ten years. Unfortunately, the most memorable thing about it was an egg toss and a four dollar Bud Light, but after this, we were set and ready to party. Along the way, probably the funniest thing possible happened to us. But, as usual, it all went down at and around 6th Street (though there were noticeably less people than usual — I guess they were at the VIP parties).

When I woke up, I called up Scott who I went to Creekwood Middle School with in Kingwood, and ended up reuniting with in college freshman year as incoming Trinity freshmen. We ended up making margaritas and heading to meet other Kingwood friends like Matt and Aaron to swim at Barton Springs, a really beautiful natural spring with a nice park area. Then dinner at Garj Mahal, the best Indian place I’ve ever tried, and then back to the 21st St Coop, an interesting coop with a bar set up and lots of music and places to gather. We listened to some screaming music and drank, but the highlight was just getting to see all the guys again.

I wanted to make this post immediately after I got home, otherwise I would delay it and forget it like I usually do. I had a really, really great time. I think it was such an interesting Spring Break because I had four completely unique experiences: a devMeet, a Trinity-style night, a Sam/Brennan 6th Street rager (Sam was with us in spirit. 5 dollar liquor pitcher? Absolutely!), and a chill reunion with my best friends from my childhood. Seriously, what more could you ask for?

There was a possibility of staying another night, but I really had to get back because of work (and my body had become  a living alcohol sponge for days straight). Next week will be cut short too because then I’m heading to Houston to see Emily.

Spring Break, Round 2 — coming soon.

1 November 2005

I always try to think of something interesting to say that I can look back on down the road. But to be honest, I really don’t have a lot going on in my life. If anything, piracy season is picking up and it’s already been a hit so far. All of the good things to steal have been hitting the market as fast as possible. The holiday season is beautiful.

I bought a Gamecube for 56 dollars and a Dreamcast for 30 dollars; eBay appears to be the one place where I should have purchased a number of things cheaper. However, I constantly fear that because there is a variety of prices that I will eventually get the less fortunate deal and pay more than I could have elsewhere. It’s funny that as soon as I have the possibility in front of me instead of a locked price, I lock myself down from spending at all. The trick to the whole site is placing a bid with less than a minute to go. Somebody did that to me on my first bid, and I was pretty pissed. Now I’ll get to piss off others.

I like Hamlet. It’s even better than Othello, another story that I sincerely enjoyed. And, I found some cheap aviators which I wear around like a dork. They’re chick glasses, but I find them to be moderately amusing. As well, I was introduced to Bryce’s Supra, a supreme machine in comparison to my own. That car must go zero to sixty in under five seconds.

The future really seems pretty dim. I don’t like thinking about five years down the road because it’s all so stressful. Sometimes I get really tired of having to think so much and I just want to relax. Lorelei suspects my story, though I can’t recall if she actually knows.

14 April 2005

My favorite war movie/book

I suppose things are well. Though, I’m pretty distant from all the things going on in my life. Just kind of a drag dealing with them, so as usual, I ignore them.

I’m sort of waiting for something bad to happen. So far this year, nothing bad has really even occured. I’d think about relationships, but it’s not like I didn’t already know where they were all going. As they always do; doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that.

My “why bother” philosophy seems to be guiding my life. If I can get out of here, maybe things will be better for me. I suppose that’s a stupid thought to have, but it does force me to do well at school, if anything. It’s not that things are bad here, I just feel so bored. Looking at it, I’ve always been bored.

I’d love to be on the coast. That’s my ideal location, really.

All Quiet on the Western Front, one of my favourite books and movies came in. 1979 DVD, and the classic book from 1929. If only Hitler would have read this. He probably would have found beauty in all the wrong places, just like I did. Great book, really. If you read this, pick it up for 6.99 next time you’re in a bookstore. It’s worth it.

13 October 2004

Already October? Where did the 13 days go? I don’t think I’m properly keeping track of time.

An old friend wanted advice the other day, called me and such. I wonder is this person a friend? He seems to mainly talk to me when other people are unavailable, when things are not going his way. I suppose my cynical nature is somehow comforting? I’d assume this is a friend that just uses me a bit. Annoying. The only part I really mind is not the separation we have after he is past his periodical episodes, but rather the uneasy conversations that I start when obviously I am unneeded. Makes me feel like I’ve wasted my time. Maybe I have?

Either way, he’s less and less frequent, so it’s alright. Now Nick, Nick I want to talk to. Sometime. Talked with Laura tonight, confessed my love and the usual random things I say. She really makes me smile, albeit she is almost twenty hours away, I’d think.

I hate these blogs because they always just recap things that I don’t care about. When I read over them at a later time, I just get anger to what I wrote. Same goes with other people’s blogs. I even hate the word “blog” — as described in my original entry to this journal.

I suppose this entry is all about bitterness and hatred, as usual. I can’t think of much that is positive. I feel aloof from everything anyway, so I doubt that it’s really all that bitter. Maybe if my gas cap would come in, I’d be in a better mood. “This is your life, and it’s ending one second at a time.” How very true. I think I’ll try and get some reading time in. Reading about Chuck Palahniuk makes me realize how unimportant everything is, and that makes me happy. Happy that I have no reason to care about what I care about.

14 April 2004

In other news, I think that Mrs. Truitt has taken a liking to me. While the rest of my buddies got a 40 on a notes quiz, I, not studying one bit, made an 86. -2 for spelling. Others got -5. Hell, I put “Kellogs-Briag Treaty” when the answer was “Kellog-Briand Pact” … minus two. Well, I won that battle, now what do I have to win? Nothing that I can win of course: world hunger, suffering, and a few other things. Yes, that was supposed to be that obvious.

The “dictionary with a plot” that was “Watership Down” turned out to be a pretty decent book, ala the Redwall series, as I had not expected it to. Although, it only got interesting to the end. I need to get literary criticisms on the book so I may test my hand at being a PhD. Now, we’re not allowed to use just any criticisms, they have to be by a professional. “I want so see the opinions of the professionals and not some random highschool student who posted thier report to the internet.” What in the world makes somebody who has an official stamp any better than that highschool student. I don’t need literary criticisms to form opinions, and I don’t need her class.

That’s not to sound stuck-up, it’s just that I don’t need to deal with busy work when I’ve got other things to do: sleep, eat, meet amazingly beautiful supermodels who fall in love with me, etc. Very complex situation.

Something clever here.

1 April 2004

Thursday. Yep. Tired. I was sleeping during most of the school day. Hey, I’m not a good kid, I can get away with that.

This guy… in my English class. He’s in ROTC and thinks he’s possibly the strongest man in the world. Of course, he isn’t; so, he likes to play games of armwrestling with nerdy type kids and show much he owns. Well, I musta broke the poor kid’s arm. People really underestimate me… I don’t act like a kid, therefore, I must be weak. The logic here is pretty flawed.

Over his cries of “Oh god, please stop it”, I picked up my pencil with my other hand and proceeded to finish my math homework. Then I went to sleep some more.

I really hate April fools… usually. Nobody tricked me today.

In theatre, (ah, 8th period) I was doing a short group improv where I was a Vietnam vet having random flashbacks. I enjoyed that… but, I could actually see something like that happening, minus the jungle and add a desert full of turban-wearers.

A rather hot girl was flirting with me… lots of girls do this to me lately. I ignore most of them. Except that one girl, the asian girl, who I was using as a crutch for my bad day for a couple of days. Plus, I’ve got a thing for asians. Alli Moody, very hot girl, who is about 5’8”, (very important for me) … I could take interest in her. But… I’d just lie my way to her. I don’t have time to make real relationships unless I care about the other member of the party

I think I’m going to read “Le Morte d’Arthur” again. I would say “Once and Future King” as well, but I’m also reading a book for English called “Watership Down”. In case you didn’t have to read this book, it’s a dictionary with a plot. I thought “The Hobbit” was boring, but man, this one takes the cake. The first two-hundred pages of the book are some rabbits bitching about how they don’t want to do anything radical like “cross a puddle” and “walk” and “eat” and “talk” and “think” and eerrgh. I don’t like this book from the get-go, just because its the Redwall series minus the action and minus the human personification. Hell, minus a clever writing style too.

Wish I could have picked F451, but that group was filled. It was this book or some story about Black women and their struggles. Not only do I not care about black women, I rarely care about women. I mean, they should be cooking and cleaning, no?

Logen, marry me and become my cook and maid; I’ll buy you a chef’s hat and a French maid’s outfit.