Friday, November 7, 2008

Daily Report: Little Changes

I had a great day of work today. I got up early and worked for 7 hours straight before calling it a day at 3:00. Why can't all days go this well at work?

My mother sent me the PBS documentary "Carrier", about a WestPac cruise aboard the USS Nimitz... the ship I spent 2 years on when I was fresh out of high school. The girls and I have been enjoying it. I've only recognized a few places: Most of the film is spent on the 03 Level and higher, while I spent most of my time on 2nd deck and lower (storekeeper, I was... down in the hold). The major difference now is that women are members of the crew, which is quite cool.

The only problem I have with women on board ship is that their presence seems to have destroyed the 400-year-old tradition of becoming a shellback. When I crossed the equator for the first time (along with about 5,000 out of the 6,000 crew) in December of 1988, it was a pretty harsh 6 hours: We spent the entire time on our hands and knees, crawling on lacerating non-skid decking; getting spanked with lengths of salt-water-hardened thick fire hose the entire way; then getting our faces mashed into the biggest, hairiest, greased-up beer belly on the ship; and then crawling through a 30-foot tube of rotten food before graduating to the status of shellback. When I was finished, I felt like I had really accomplished something. The things I had to do in and of themselves were a bit pointless and definitely painful and gross, but it added up to an experience I'll never forget, and a title (Shellback) that carries a bit of weight among Navy people... or at least it used to.

Now, apparently, the only thing that wogs (the pre-shellback crew) have done to them is getting sprayed lightly with a firehose (not even on full blast), told to do calesthenics, and be shouted at. No hitting, no crawling, no nasty belly face mash, no rotten food. Oh: And the raunchy and hillarious drag show to choose Amphritrite the night prior has been replaced by some dorky talent show. I think they should call people who go through this new version of equator crossing "Cruise Ship Shellbacks" or at least "21st Century Shellbacks" to connote the differences in experience that they had compared to their predecessors.

For all you military folks out there who aren't Shellbacks, think of it this way: Imagine if boot camp was suddenly turned into summer camp because girls were in it. You might approve of the fact that endless marching and exhausting hours, the tedious uniform folding, the pointless rifle salutes, the draining calesthenics and the heavy-handed discipline are gone... but part of you realizes that the boot camp experience gave you a sense of accomplishment, a bit of pride, and an appreciation of military tradition.

Anyway moving on. It was pouring rain tonight. (Height of dry season? It's raining constantly now.) That put a stopper in going out. Instead, I sat home and played Ratchet & Clank on PlayStation.

I also figured out a way to butch up my Cagayan Cocktail a bit, in a bid to acknolwedge a fair sentiment from a commenter:


1. Four parts strawberry Lambanog. (Or 4 parts vodka and a splash of grenadine if you want.)
2. Two parts of triple sec.
3. One part Rose's lime juice.
4. Four parts beer.
5. Two parts orange juice.

Epril went out to Jasaan today. Little sister Inday was in a school pageant today and was assigned to dress up like somebody from Thailand. (I wonder why?) Epril and I supplied Inday with a formal gown from Thailand. I haven't seen the pictures yet, but they should be nice. As you can see, she looked quite nice, and made quite an impression.

Also, a belated thank you to those of you reading who helped get this dress to Inday.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Now I can play along at home with these manly drinks.

Jungle Jil said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Make the damn drink, then go run around the block once or twice, and come back and drip some manly sweat in with it if you want to put some hair on it. Throw in a shot of 10W-30. Pour it in Clint Eastwood's navel and suck it out using the fuel line off of a Ford F150. That'll make it a manly drink fer fark's sake.

Sheesh.

Tom N said...

From one shellback to another, you are dead on.

Anonymous said...

all the while listening to Metallica's Kill em All album in the background whilst lifting weights.