Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sailors, Seneca, Sunday

I had a dream. I was in a white sailor's suit, saluting then piloting a ship. That was a nice dream.
On a summer Sunday, I have little to do after the extraordinary morning church festivities (Patron Saint's day, SS Peter and Paul).
Twenty miles away from home, a lake in a regional park in Upcounty Mont.Co. looked appetible as my family finished business off in Germantown. The lake was Seneca Lake, in Black Hill Park.

On the small beach were young-looking lake attendants in Yellow polo and Khaki shorts chillaxing under an umbrella. Gosh, that's the future summer job of many DC lifeguards.(The DC guards say the pay and benefits are better across the state line, but that they demand experience). Really, they were environmental police. They were there to, in a friendly way, remind you that what you dump in the lake is what comes out of the tap next week. For this reason no swimming or motorboats are allowed. It makes the Lifeguards'/ Dockhands' job easier: any soul soaking in the water is either in distress or mischeivious. Let's call these people Tap Water Guards.
I'll just say that it's a huge difference in scenery: Poolside versus Lakeside.

I took a look at the Baywatch episode list. As expected, the plots are way over dramatized. That's understandable, but that show's got a lot of wild things going on. Still have yet to see my first episode.
In the real lifeguarding world, a reach-from-the-deck a day is an impressive record. It's also a sign that someone's neglecting prevention.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

We call it Father's Day

Price of Tysons Buffet for two: $45
Running into a pack of classmates on the way home through Bethesda: Priceless.

What is a free day to me?
Navy respects Sundays just as I do: it's something special. After morning PT, you're off until noon to pursue religious activities. In fact, the day is tagged as "yard liberty", aka, you can walk around casually; just stay on campus.
It must've been an act of God- I've never been that tired after a buffet (in Rockville). Already late in the day, our party decided to not pursue the cooler clime of North Central Maryland and decided to return home.
Sleepy, I caught sight of kids that looked like they went to St. Anselm's. Mom thought so too. We pulled around a corner and I doubled back to meet them, in Summer Seminar attire. We shot the breeze for a minute, dicussing a Brazilian friend's antics after the world cup game (the series that I have missed out on, but not regretted). If they had to see it to believe it, though, I'm Navy.

Remember, TH, to practice parallel parking before taking the road test!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Five Days in Annapolis, Been Changed

Article I of the US Armed Forces Code of Conduct:
"I am an American fighting in the forces which defend my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense".

EMT teams raced around campus Wednesday as we performed a half-version, 7 hour synthesis of Sea Trials, a keystone experience for Plebe (Freshmen) Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis Although our whole squad of 7 pulled through, not every shipmate did. Some stopped on their own volition; others went out with a zap and bang. On our squad's final trial, fatigued, wet, and sore, we clumsily bear-crawled down a hill. We had a perfect sightline of EMT's working on a fellow shipmate. I suppose that the Midshipmen didn't put up a courtesy curtain because "that there ain't the worst you'll see in battle". The openness of the event also allowed us to say to ourselves and to our squad buddies: "That kid has (darn) good dedication".

I had a co-worker tell me that I was nuts for considering to attend a service academy. Multiple times over the week we were reminded, directly and indirectly, of what you'll have to be prepared to give up if you attend the Academy. Examples include time with friends and family, civilian clothes, "regular college stuff", your life. Our squad leader,a Midshipmen of the Class of 2013, took us to Memorial Hall, a most revered and hallowed space. We perambulated the hall in our buddy pairs. He pointed to the columns of WWII Midshipmen casualties. The usually peppy gymnast just stared. "That many", he murmured. We then went over the wall bearing plaques for the casualties of recent graduating years. The squad leader showed us our place on the wall: "Remember, we are at war and will likely be at war when you graduate". What I want to do is pilot from the bridge of a large ship. My title would be Surface Warfare Officer. My buddy wants to train to be an aviator- not on recon missions but as a Marine Aviator, in the middle of the field of action. I was not dissuaded, neither was he. We know that with privilege comes responsibility. "Where else will someone let you, age 25, take out a $40 million jet and burn $18,000 of fuel in a single trip?"

That's what's so great about being a Naval Officer- the end product of Academy life. Now clean words here will not describe how much I loved the daily challenges- including and especially Sea Trial Day, a "tough day" even when it comes to real-life plebe year. This is the best part- I never expected that I would like it so much.

I reencountered that shipmate the next day at "Graduation". He told me in a serious tone,"Too bad that I missed Indoc last night 'cuz I was in the hospital".
What a beast.

Shipmate Anonymous, what you missed was the awesome experience of being placed under pressure by rising Sophomores who are testing out their newly-earned authority for the first time. Reality Check: What'cha gonna feel if your wood-clad ship was on fire? Personally, I was in a sweat based on the high expectations, but I kept cool under pressure. I wasn't 'dropped' (for reparation in the physical form) as much as I or any of my fellow squadmates had expected.

At least we had this sometimes rebellious reply in our sleeve: " Sir, order to the helm Sir". Never Sir a Ma'am, though.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Five Days in Annapolis

I have never been in the JROTC or taken a formal military science class or attend a military-centric school. That said, I'm off to Annapolis tomorrow for a five-day taste of the Naval Academy. I don't know what to say about a naval career; I've heard to keep an open mind about it.

Over Spring Break, I was looking up internship programs, the federal STEP (Summer temp. youth program), and other summer activities in general. Frankly, the application for the Navy program was not too hard. The hardest part was class rank. It was not an objective number from my point of view; our school doesn't supply it. In that case, the USNA stated to estimate. I lowballed my estimation for class rank, in deferrence to the math whizzes in my class and some others who applied with numbers 3, 5, and 7.

--I also applied for the USCGA Aim Program, but an apparent computer glitch prevented me from submitting my portfolio of paragraph essays.--

I applied later than my peers. When I first heard of their intent, one had already received a letter of acceptance. "First round pick", we say. I received a similar letter on formal stationary soon after the deadline. I suspect some of my other classmates received theirs as well. They haven't been vocal about it, though. As the school mantra goes, "As GPA's are competitive, so is everything else".

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Line Gone Out

On the bathroom counter lies a soup bowl filled with water, and a three-ringed bouquet of flowerheads suspended on the surface of the water. It's been over a week since graduation, where Hf. Riechert put those flowers in unfunctional yet artistic glass bowls. Yet, those live flowers still look fresh.
In retrospect, it's only been two weeks since the last final exam, but it has felt like it has been so long ago. Well, it's summer now, and a slow summer seems to be a good one.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

SAT II, Round 1

SAT II today...
I took the tests at Holton Arms
Halfway between home and my violin instructor
(I was not the only one- other kids had their violins too, for after the test!)
I was originally scheduled for two- French and Chemistry
But I decided to throw in a Math II at the end
It turns out that when you take SATII you get the whole book of 30-something tests- and can choose which one to take at what time.
I heard US History is a popular impulse purchase.
The folks in Jersey say that they'll just bill your family for the extra tests.
Does this invoice delay my scores?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Donut Day

6/4 = National Doughnut (or Donut) Day.
In honor of this special occasion, I jogged over to the local Krispy Kreme (paradox), and took large bites into my Boston Kreme Donut that did not cost me a penny. Dunkin' Donuts is doing the same (the local college, GW, with its hoard of New Yorkers and Connecticut people, imported a DD to our area). While I'm in SATII prep mode, Little Brother is running a comparative "taste test" that will take him across the city and until 11pm.
Now say what about America's waistline?