Tuesday, October 28, 2008

By popular demand...

This is a pelican at Point Loma Submarine Base, San Diego. What a cool looking bird.
This is the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada. Victoria a popular tourist destination for Europeans and English folks. This is where the Queen of England used to stay when British Columbia was still British and the Queen wanted to go on 'oliday. Victoria was an awesome place to visit, and it's just north of the border. I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the area.
First of all, let me say that I don't normally dress that way, but I was camping, OK? Anyway, this is a ridge about 1000 feet above the famous Pali lookout on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. When King Kamehameha was conquering the Hawaiian islands, he met the fiercest resistance on Oahu. He finally managed to push the opposing army high up into the Pali pass in the middle of the Island. Rather than surrender to Kamehameha, the entire army (reputedly over 100,000 men) jumped off the cliff to their deaths. From that foot wide ridge, there is a 300 foot drop on both sides. I could see both Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Bay from there.
This is the view from my friend's 17th floor apartment in Honolulu. Wow. I really miss that place.
This is myself and the great Seaman Owens doing what we did best: scrubbing toilets. Owens later went on to serve honorably and proudly in Iraq and return safely.

Even more pics!

This is my sub, the USS Buffalo returning from six months away from home port. This was we were still stationed in Pearl Harbor, so that's Oahu. Hawaii in the background. That day I was filled with a sense of accomplishment that was truly rare during my long years in the Navy.
This is a statue at the Kawasaki-Daishi bhuddist temple in Japan. This was one of two warrior statues on either side of the main gate to the temple. I guess they are there to watch the gate. The temple was just part of a complex spanning about two square miles in the middle of a densely populated suburb of Tokyo. There were stunning statues and paintings everywhere, and the landscaping was incredible. A tour guide told us that there had been a temple on that site for over 800 years. Allied forces destroyed it in the war, but they rebuilt it. Sorry guys.
This is another statue at the Kawasaki temple. I liked this one because it reminded me of the old monk from that movie Ninja Scroll. I guess that's how they dressed. I wish I knew who it is a statue of, because he's probably important to bhuddists and he probably wasn't a kung fu masta.
This is part of a sprawling mural beneath the elevated train track in Yokohama, Japan. There were dozens of amazing pieces of street art all along a sidewalk under the track next to a normal street. This piece is featured in a book about grafitti art that I have, so it's cool to have a picture of me beside it.
This banner loomed over the Sonar shack on my sub. It's an old joke dating back to the misty beginnings of seafaring history.

More visual accumulations

I took this picture in Olongapo, Phillipines. They seem to love bolting shiny bits on their trucks and there's lots like this. What I didn't know at the time was that while my friends and I were gawking and taking pictures of it, there was a family living inside looking at us and probably wondering what all these white men were doing staring at their truck.
This is just a bunch of salty sea dogs fresh in from a month under the waves. My friend Joe is reading a book that came from the mail call, and the rest are smoking cigarettes, and waiting to have their US dollars changed for Phillipine pisos. And we're all enjoying the sunlight.

this, of course is my newest nephew, Roko. He is probably the coolest baby ever.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I went to public school and I'm... Oh-k!

This is a real reader response to an article on Smithsonian Magazine that I saw online:

"Your pictures are very interesting.I homeschool so I go on this website after school for extra knalage. This article is awsom.thank you!

Friday, October 17, 2008

WARNING: this post will probably make you unhappy, dissapionted, and confused.

So everyone keeps telling me I should have this blog so they can know me better, and I just keep wanting to fill it with silly, trite anecdotes. The fact is that there are very important facts about me that none of the most important people in my life are aware of. This came up tonight when Angela mentioned that there was a great deal of ambiguity in the family concerning my beliefs about the church and my other beliefs. I don't talk about these things because I really don't think there is any way to reconcile the way I have chosen to live and the way my loved ones choose to. Or maybe I just don't want to make them sad. But the real reason is that I have been a coward. This is a very difficult subject to discuss and I am very ashamed and sorry, but I do not believe in the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints or any other. I am sorry. Really. But I will not change, and I have decided to stop trying to hide because there's nowhere to go, and no one is fooled. I have worked very hard to correct some the mistakes I made in my life before I joined the Navy, and I have. Don't mistake that for some kind of change of heart. For lack of a better term, I am R-rated. What we do is who we are. I am only ashamed of myself when I am around my family because I know this makes them unhappy because they think my actions make me unhappy. Does anyone get it yet? It's a self fulfilling prophecy. I drink, smoke, fornicate etc. and the only reason it makes me unhappy is because somebody told my mother that it would. Sure there are natural consequences for such risky behavior; I would know. But It's all part of life, and I love life. This is who I am. I am not hard hearted; I am wild and free. I know what you're thinking, because a part of me is just like you. I've heard all the same things in church about us apostates as you have. You all know I love you and I treasure my family above all things. But I will not fake it. Bieng a Mormon Is hard. Maybe I just don't have what it takes. I seriously doubt you understand, but at least now I have given you the opportunity to try.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Find inner peace... or die!

So every one in my immediate family blogs dilligently and I have been assigned to do the same. Actually, I've been meaning to do this for a while just for a journal and to write more. I am back in Texas just trying to shape my post-navy life into something I can wake up to on the morning with a smile. The other day I was helping dad build a wooden quilting frame for someone. I was just sanding the cut wooden pieces while my father shaped and stained them. Dad also keeps bees and had this trash can full of old honeycombs that had already been pressed. We had opened the garage door to enjoy the nice weather and the bees from the back yard smelled the honey. First we noticed a few buzzing around, then a few more. Dad didn't seem concerned, and I was definitely in his world, so I figured we were ok. By sunset, a full-scale invasion was underway. The sound of thousands of bees was almost audible above the whine of the table saw. Still Dad continued his peaceful, methodical work. He had already taught me that bees usually won't sting you if you are calm around them and don't make any sudden moves. No problem until one landed on me. Dad acted like I was crazy to get so upset and just brushed the bee off my arm. We worked into the evening and I began to embrace the beauty of doing everyday, prosaic work while surrounded by wild animals that could kill me just as easily as a lion or shark if I gave them a reason. It was a truly strange experience.