Petty Officer'ed Up

Well, this has been an interesting Thanksgiving. Yesterday, when I was getting my haircut after being yelled out by annoying third class for my hair touching my ears, the barber lady, Stephanie, invited me to her family’s Thanksgiving. It seemed a little strange, but there was no way I’d turn down a homecooked meal. My fears were put to rest as soon as I met her family — an eclectic mixture of people that were pretty awesome to hang out with. The food was fantastic and I actually enjoyed myself the whole time. Good stuff. It’s not home, and it’s not my family, but it was way better than eating frozen turkey at the galley.

Otherwise, things have been pretty good. Kicking it for the most part. I haven’t updated in large part because I’ve put in 140 hours to Skyrim, a super nerdy video game that consumed my soul since it’s release. But I burned myself out so it’s back to trying to get in shape again. The Navy is great for making you not want to work out.

Leave was good. I pretty much did nothing all day every day and it was fantastic. It was 10 days of me ignoring the world, sleeping in, and eating delicious food. (Yes, Kara, I remembered to mention you!) I have leave upcoming two weeks into Power School, meaning I’ll probably do the same, though if I am motivated enough, I’ll tour around Texas and see Emily, Mella, and a few others.

How can I be healthy when I have places that make a sandwich that looks like this?

As for now, we’re standing watches on what it called T-Track, or Transition Track, which basically means I ask if people have cell phones or often just stand there looking like I have a purpose. Lots of cleaning involved too. I’m still not really enjoying the nuclear field, even though I’m good at it. Yesterday I finally got to resubmitting my officer’s package, though it’ll take a while to get it all set up. I figure there’s no harm in trying and seeing what I can do. If I make supply officer, I’d be really happy. Then again, just as before, I’m terrified of OCS, Officer Candidate School, which is run by Marines and probably a lot tougher than bootcamp — and now I’m in pretty bad shape compared to when I first entered. Oh well, if I put my mind to something, I can make it happen. It just might suck in the mean time.

I still have a lot of dreams, and I’m committed to them, so no matter how long it takes, I’ll keep trying. But, until then, I’m just going to continue doing my thing as Third Class Petty Officer. (The phrase “Take it like a third class” is used pretty often around here.)

All in all though, I’m pretty content with things right now. I’ll probably update this before the new year, but we’ll see!

Get Out of My Gym

Ah, West Texas. Only here would you find this on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. What's funnier, the coyote or the fact that someone actually did this?

Well, it’s the new year — 2011, one year away from our inevitable destruction. If John Cusack survives the 2012 apocalypse, it’s still a complete loss in my eyes. So, I have been neglecting this for a while. It’s not really out of a lack of interest. I think about updating this daily but by the time I get home I usually want to work out, shower, and go to bed. Yes, my life is the pinnacle of excitement.

Anyway, I’ve always seen those commercials on TV about joining a gym after New Year’s and I didn’t realize that people actually flock to the gym like that. Today it was actually impossible to do anything. Every machine, even the old busted bikes with the giant wheels, were being used. I can’t believe how many people were there. Definitely over 100 (whereas before there were maybe 10). What’s sad is that people have to have this trigger to get to the gym. If you want to work out, just go to the gym. I ended up starting about this time last year though it was because I wanted to rather than what everyone always does. Anyway, the whole concept just seems weird. I’m wondering how long it will take for them to fizzle out. The lady behind the desk says March and it’ll be completely back to normal. Can’t come soon enough.

So besides the gym frustrations, I spent my New Year in Dallas for the Chastain family reunion. Good times, good food. I wish we had more time to go explore Dallas a little, but we’re usually in and out pretty quick. I managed to get some sort of awful sinus infection (girls dig it), and missed most of work last week. I really hate just sitting around all day doing nothing, especially for the better part of a week. I ended up just playing video games (c’mon like I would read a book?). I felt pretty awful. I’m not sure how Sam could sit around and play Battlefield from 8 AM to 8 PM at my apartment… I guess that’s considered a skill.

Pretty nice ride. Can't wait to take it off some sick jumps. (You got like 4 feet of air that time.)

One of the cooler things to happen is that my dad sold his motorcycle and bought a pretty sick Jeep. I think it’s a lot more practical than a motorcycle and I can’t wait to beast mode it at Big Bend later this year. Hopefully when it’s warmer. This cold weather stuff is for chumps.

And finally, the Navy got back to me. My commission was denied for all three fields, meaning I’ll go back to being enlisted and doing the nuclear field. Not all bad, but I can’t help feel like there was something more I could have done. Also it means I’ll be here until May. Trying to hold down the fort until then.

So in the spirit of resolutions, I was thinking about making one to go with the fad, but I just came up with a list of stuff I want to do before I die, unless I die first. And here it is:

  • Sky dive. This is my biggest fear in the entire world. It’s not natural to jump out of a perfectly good plane. Also if the chute doesn’t open you’ll have to think about how much you shouldn’t have jumped out of that plane. But, I want to do it so I can say I did it.
  • Get in a shark cage with pissed off sharks. One of our relatives works in Galveston for a nonprofit dealing with ocean life, so I will have to get her advice. I’ll probably have to do it in Mexico to make it cheap. I feel like either way, I’ll be charged an arm and a leg, one more literal than the other.
  • Run a marathon. This sounds so ridiculously impossible. By the time I hit 8 miles I’m nearly dead. How do people do that? It’s insane. It will kill me. Might as well do it.
  • Get back to Australia. Man, I love that place. I have to go back and relive some of the best experiences of my entire life. In general, I just want to travel. Maybe that’s why the Navy was so appealing?
  • This is the poster for a documentary on why we shouldn't like spiders.

    Hold a tarantula. This is right up there with skydiving. They are hell spawn abominations. I hate spiders, but I really hate the massive tarantulas. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about them. So, I better man up and hold one.

  • Have a stranger recognize me for something I’ve done. And, hopefully that’s a good something. I don’t want to be a star, but it would be pretty awesome if I was known for something awesome — like that guy who went to Mexico and jumped into a shark cage and ended up losing an appendage much to the delight of YouTube.
  • Pay off all my debt. I’m actually closer to this goal than I have been in years. I finally got my credit card completely paid off — the first time since I turned 18. At this point, I’ll try not to use it again. Now all I have are my student loans. Awesome.
  • Give more. I really would like to give more. Right now, it’s hard to give much of anything since I’m pretty constrained with the aforementioned student loans. But I feel like it’s a good thing in general to get in the practice of giving. Maybe not money at this moment, but time. I do have time off occasionally and I really should try to do something productive with it instead of sit in front of YouTube wasting my life.


This Town or This Weather

This field is a good summary of my life right now.

I’m not sure which it is, to be honest. I’ve been feeling sick, kind of foggy for the last few days (weeks?) and it’s just not going away. I think partly because I do the same thing day in and day out and that it’s actually a pretty tiring routine, but I think it’s also something to do with the weather, random illness, sorcery, and living in Midland. All of this combined has left me at a blank and sometimes I feel like this blog is the only connection I have to those random stories and ideas that are in my head. I contemplated doing movie reviews of all the movies I watch — I watch a lot of them, let that be known. But, in the end, I scrapped my review of Dead Snow (it’s a movie about Nazi zombies, so basically it’s the best movie created) and wondered what the hell is this blog for? Who is reading it? Originally this way to post my day-to-day crap, but right now I’m not really emo or really happy or anything. It’s just been uneventful.

If anything, this is a good stress relief and so I think I’ll try to post my random daily thoughts even though they are just kind of average events. Maybe when I look back on this in five years I’ll have some sort of emotion towards it one way or another.

Thanksgiving is coming up and my mom is worrying about the logistics of it. I’m just thankful we don’t have turkey like everyone else. We’re doing steaks, which is the Texas way of saying we’re awesome. Usually at this time I’m at Trinity hating myself over midterms, but right now I just get to go to New Mexico and do oil field stuff. It’s a lot less stressful, though I find there are advantages to being in a warm dorm room complaining to the guys about schoolwork when you’re outside in the blowing dust and the cold. Makes you get quick at getting things done though. Today I ate some leftover Chinese food that I warmed up on my dash. I think I’m starting to get into this oil field gig, which may be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.

12 year olds scream that I suck. And I do. But at least I'm not 12, you little shits.

I haven’t been doing much new besides work. I’ve played some more Call of Duty Black Ops, which is the most infuriating game that makes me want to go strangle the 12 year old players who apparently do nothing except play video games all day long. I’ve already broken a controller. I picked up the new Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and the new Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (Gamestop must really love the thousands of dollars I’ve pumped into them over the years). But, I’m writing this instead of playing them. Like I said, I have a video game collecting problem, not a video game playing problem. I’ll get around to them this weekend. But, at the same time, I really need to spend more time at the gym. I’ve been getting home late (or getting home early and taking naps) and that’s cut into my daily gym time. The results are pretty good still and everyone has been complimenting me on my progress, but I guess I want more. I only ran 5 miles and biked 10 miles, which is decisively less than I want to. I know that sounds like a lot, but I need to do more. There’s no goal really, I just want to push myself. I know that when I ship out I will be unprepared regardless of what I do, but having an edge physically will be helpful. Or it can’t hurt.

So, there you go. That’s me for right now.

Videos Games

At a game launch, typical gamers aka my future

I own a lot of video games. Enough that when people come over they compare me to a Blockbuster. (Note for reading this ten years from now: Does Blockbuster even exist anymore? Do we have hover cars?) I feel like I spent most of my childhood playing them and I can still recall specific moments in my gaming history. I think from the normal person’s view, video games were considered to be a waste of time, and maybe they still are. Yeah, I guess it is pretty much like vegging out and being an unproductive member of society. If anything though, playing them has become less of a nerdy thing to more of a thing that every adult male does. When the next Halo or Call of Duty comes out, we all line up rank and file to get our copy at the midnight release.

I have a few specific memories about video games, but there are four games that really started me down this path to playing and collecting them the way that I do now:

  • Doom
  • Quake
  • Half-Life
  • Gran Turismo 2

I played the crap out of these games as a kid. With the exception of Gran Turismo 2, the other games were computer games and their objective was to shoot stuff. In Doom, you shot 2D things. In Quake, you shot 3D things. In Half-Life, you shot 3D things are there was a cohesive and interesting story. In Gran Turismo 2, well, you raced cars. I remember seeing Quake and thinking “Wow, how is this possible this technology exists?” This was the first game that I stole.

This game was somehow the most incredible thing I had ever witnessed

Alright, so how does this lead into thievery? As a broke kid who knew way too much about computers, I was able to track down and find all the games I wanted to play and get them for free. I feel like most of the people who were doing this were also broke kids. It taught me a lot about the internet and how computers work, something I should be thankful for because I ended up pursuing tech fields as income. That said, I no longer steal games because I can actually afford them. But, at the time, it was what I did, for better or worse. This means that when I actually did buy a game, it was serious stuff. I remember buying Half-Life at the store and not being able to see over the counter when I bought it. It was a mature game, of course, but that didn’t matter then. And, I remember getting it home and finding out that I couldn’t run it because my computer didn’t have a graphics card powerful enough. So, I had to buy that too, and 199 dollars is expensive for a kid. But, I got it and that launched me into a world of gaming I never turned back from…

Until now. I feel like even though I still buy and play video games, my patience for them has gone down the drain. I don’t want to die a ton and restart levels or checkpoints, I don’t want to sit online and progress though ranks to get a gun. I don’t want to deal with the people online, and I don’t have the time or energy to sit there and play them all day. Typically this changes for all the big releases and I’ll find myself in GameStop at their midnight release standing next to the largest people with even larger BO.

We've certainly come a long way from shooting block men

But this time, I was just too busy and I actually forgot about the release for a day and picked it up the next day instead. And I tried to play it tonight but I just can’t get into it. I’d rather be writing this article than playing it and this game is the next big thing everyone had been waiting for. It’s just not doing it for me. I feel like such a slug for even playing games, and all I do is get frustrated at the screaming twelve year old kids. I guess I used to be one. I think in college, and more so in high school, I had the freedom to just play whatever I wanted and do it all day because you don’t have anything meaningful going on as a kid. And by meaningful I don’t mean profound, I mean working to pay bills and dealing with all your other responsibilities. Speaking of which, I need to cut a check for student loans which are finally kicking in. Ugh.

This game is really addictive. It's just red vs blue and a lot of team strategy

I actually feel like even if I was just sitting around all day, I couldn’t let myself do it anymore. I just can’t get into video games like I used to. I still will have the occasional day where I will sit around, eat Butterfinger bars and drink (diet) Mountain Dew like a video game nerd is supposed to do. However, at this point, it’s more or less like the days where people sit around and watch movies — they end up feeling like they wasted their day and don’t do it again for a long time.  I want to take the time to give a shout out to Dan, my roommate, for one of the stories I tell everyone about video games; I will note that he has since changed his ways. During our sophomore year of college, Halo 3 had just come out and Dan was constantly playing it to obtain the rank of a general or a 50 rating or something like that. So, at 8 AM I left for me 8:30 class so I could get some breakfast and coffee to try to stay awake. At about 9 PM or so I come back and Dan had literally not moved the entire time. He had been stationed in front of this crappy TV in the world’s worst folding chair for the entire day. How can anyone do that?

Homeworld is my favorite video game of all time, in case you're wondering. It was the best story, and the best gameplay I had ever seen. And for the time, the graphics were, pardon the pun, out of this world.

Well, I know how people can do that because I’ve done that during finals, playing Grand Theft Auto 4 from start to finish in one sitting. I’ve done that with Halo ODST and Halo Reach too. That’s how I tend to play games — short in one burst. Play for a couple of days or a week, then move on. I just get so tired of things so easily now. Maybe I’m just too tired in general and I let games frustrate me, or maybe games have just got so complicated that they’re becoming more of a chore than a good time. (The latest Call of Duty has so many options to customize things, but I got what I wanted within the first hour. Who has the time to sit around and change their icon in the game? I don’t get it.)

Dead Space was the last game that really sucked me in. Dead Space 2 is about to come out, so we'll see if I have that same connection again.

I’m really not quite sure what the exact reason is that I don’t feel the same connection, I guess the word is, that led me to spend so many hours in games, completely absorbed in their world and enjoying every moment. I can replay these games for the nostalgia factor and a few moments still shine, but it’s just not the same. Maybe it’s because I’m older and I’m different? I don’t have a good answer for this, though I do assume I’ll be playing games in the future, just in a limited capacity. I still certainly buy the games, so I don’t think the game publishers are worried by this phenomenon. I’ll even buy the map packs and try to get back into the game, but this only lasts a couple of days before I move on again

I think it comes down to the fact that I want to be connected like I used to be; I want to be drawn into a world and escape for a while. But I just don’t feel it like I used to. And that kind of sucks.

13 November 2009

Alright, so, as usual, I’ve been neglecting this. A lot of this comes from the fact that I’ve been so busy with school and just getting through life that I’ve been too busy, but also because I’m just forgetful.

Not too much is new anyway. I’m working like a dog, especially this weekend, to get through a big set of obstacles that in the long run of things are more like a hill before the looming threat of finals. Great!

Eventually I bought one.

It’s surprising to me that it’s November, especially being that it’s about 80 degrees outside. Huh? I’m all for the mild winters, don’t get me wrong. I hope it stays hot and sunny forever, and then I can skip over that whole cold thing. It is weird though.

I’m in the process of freaking out about what I’m doing after I graduate. It’s a hard thing to think about, especially since I have no idea. I know my professors and contacts will help me out, so I’m not completely worried, but the future is definitely a looming uncertainty, at least at this point. It’s also hard to transition from the mentality of a college student to a professional. I don’t even own a suit, and my lfiestyle is not very professional at all. I’m not sure who I’ll end up or how I’ll be. It’s probably not much of a worry though. Looking back, big changes always seem to go well enough for me.

I'm so cool I took a picture of how cool I am

On top of all this worry, I have Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Alright, alright, I know it’s a game but the thing is absorbing my soul. I just can’t stop playing it. It’s fun and highly addictive. This is certainly the best video game ever made; it’s hard for me to put it down. The problem is that I’m so busy I end up partitioning my time favoring the video game.

I think things will change once I care about my job and have fun doing things. And get paid. It’s a completely different mentality than school is. I’m so burnt out on it, I just want to get done and move on to the next big adventure.

2 December 2008

It was.

So, now it’s already December. This semester is wrapping up. That is kind of nice, and kind of scary, as usual. The amount of work I have due on December 8th is pretty much ridiculous and I’m definitely not looking forward to it. That said, once I’m done I can go home and relax until early Febuary when I leave for Perth. It’s almost a done deal, and I can’t imagine what would stop it from going through. I’ve heard rumors that it’s a good situation for American guys. I will have to report on that later, though.

I’m quitting work on the 9th. I really haven’t worked much. They offered me a position as a night manager, but I doubt that I would really want to put up with the kids anyway. I’m the oldest guy there, which is sort of sad. The pay is horrible, but it was able to finance a lot of party goods and video games. I will be glad to quit, though.

As usual, I met another person who makes me happy. I sent her my camera. I hope she likes it. This girl is fascinated with birthdays, something that are rarely a big deal in my life. She goes to the extent of remembering half birthdays. In the period of one day, she sent me more cards than I’ve received in the last three or four years. That is pretty shocking. Cards are expensive too, so she must have went all out.

I think I may get some wine or something tomorrow. All we have is rum, which is fine, I suppose. But I do like being able to sip on alcohol instead of pounding shots. I should pick up some cigars too; make it a classy evening.

I’m in a genuinely bad mood lately. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep or maybe it’s something else. Sometimes I just feel like laying in bed all day. I did this a lot during freshman year, but I think that was more drug induced laziness than I am now. I hardly do anything “bad” anymore. I don’t even drink much.

I talked to Logen again recently. After things went sour, I suppose things are held together enough to make it through the holidays on a speaking basis. I miss her. Of everyone on this planet, she knows more about me. And, ironically, she’s been a relatively small portion of my life. A good friend, and definitely one I couldn’t ever stand to lose.

Work wore me down. It’s time to go to bed.

4 May 2008

I think I have a problem

Well, it’s finally May and I’m almost done. Just this week of finals and I can go home and relax for a day before I start work. Hopefully I make a ton of money this summer to cover next year’s purchases. The biggest setback in terms of money this year hasn’t even been party expenses but rather videogames. I probably bought 6 games (6 x 60 = 360 dollars!) and I think I came into school with about 180 dollars. Weird how I managed that one. Lots of well placed bets and credit card payments. That said, I recently bought Grand Theft Auto 4, which happens to be amazing. It really threw off my ability to get these final papers done. On top of the already huge feelings of indifference towards these classes, along with the desire to get out of school at all costs, this game has come along and crushed any will I had to work. I will probably be suffering the consequences of this later, but I don’t really find myself caring. I just want out.

In other news, that special girl I found turned to not be so special. Figures. This sort of thing always happens. Reading this journal is like a comedy because I always mention people who end up being little importance in my life. I suppose that Logen has been my most dependable real life friend. She’s been with me since 2003 and she still hasn’t got rid of me. I miss her.