Let me keep telling you the story.

So….

We floated around Africa hunting pirates, luckily it wasn’t Captain Jack Sparrow.  We surely wouldn’t have come out on top of that battle.  Anyway, we were hunting pirates and Snively and I found out that we were on the chopping block for ERB.  Remember earlier I had mentioned that ERB was something that could affect me so I tried to find out more and the answer was pretty much that they didn’t have any answers.  Well when I got to the ship I was for sure in trouble with ERB.  That just really meant in my mind that they would look at my record and see that I hadn’t had any PRT failures, no Captain’s Mast, and no other bad marks in my record not to mention that I now held a critical NEC (Navy Education Code).  Which is to say that I was needed, not very many people in the Navy could do what I could on the new sonar system we were supposed to be getting when we got back to San Diego.

Snively and I went through several days of really extreme stress, we couldn’t call our families to talk about the ERB nor discuss what we should, could or wanted to do.  There of course was an option to change rates to some that were undermanned.  I feel at this point that I need to mention the undermanned rates that were choices for us were things like…Fire Control Technician(submarines), Yeoman(submarines), and Cook(submarines).  There were some others that were on the surface, Hospital Corpsman, Cryptological Technician(which is a hard school from what I hear), and a couple of others but nothing that I really wanted to do.  Oh and I had to turn in an SF-86 with that conversion package which took me like a month to do with my wife at my side helping me fill in information when I was stationed at ST. MAWGAN.  Now I didn’t have my wife to help me fill out information on a project that was time sensitive.

The decision was to roll the dice, and why not…clean record, critical NEC, who wouldn’t want me?

After several weeks pirate hunting we started on our way home.  My very first time in several ports that were really, really cool.  Singapore…my very second time but first time when I actually got to go out in town instead of stuck on the pier on duty.  AWESOME, but totally afraid to spit or do anything but follow the rules because I didn’t have much money and I didn’t want to get hit with a stick

Brunei.  Ya, there was some stuff about the guy that rules that country and we did some marching in front of him…it was cool.  I volunteered for that, can you say cool.  Everyone was super friendly, and there were so many other counties militaries there it was crazy to see us all in one place.  The ship was in a parade of ships that floated by the ruler’s ship…COOL.  We got to show the world we were ready and willing to help them and also be their friends.  I guess the Chinese were there to threaten them because of oil…blah, blah, blah, political stuff.

Vitenam.  Ya, that’s right.  I can now say things like, “Back when I was in Nam!!!”  Really cool country and I was briefly a millionaire there.  I did get in a bit of trouble there but not anything to do with the country but let’s say I had a few drinks and leave it at that.  One of the Navy bands also came by and did a concert, which I went to.  It is, I think, a poor country but the people were friendly and generous.  Except for the cabbie that took us out to a hotel spa we spent the day at.  He took the long way ‘round and tried to rip us off but we knew and had one of the hotel guys come out and argue with him for us.  We won.

Bali, how could this be a bad trip?  I mean, seriously!!!!!  I dove in Bali, with a German guy and I had my own divemaster who was a Japanese woman.  The water was rough and cold but diving in Bali was really great.  I totally want to go back and do it again with my wife and he kids if they are old enough.  There were a lot of foreigners there like Australians and New Zealanders, pretty much what I think of when I see white people on vacation that aren’t Americans.

Last we hit Hong Kong.  I took a tour and the guy let us out at the top of a hill and said to us.  “You see that town over there?”, as we looked between two hills, “Ya, that’s China.”  Like it was a bad thing.  Of course to him it was because they’re commies there, not like in Hong Kong, right?  Anyway, Hong Kong was really great we had tons of fun, I tried to stay out of the bars and see the sights.  Strangely a bar in Hong Kong looks almost exactly the same as a bar in San Diego….

Let me tell you a story.

So….

I was sitting and thinking, no…maybe I wasn’t sitting…let’s say I was just thinking.  I haven’t told anyone the whole story of getting fired.  I thought that since I have this blog and I’ve been sometimes keeping people informed on my life and school and photography I’d just write the story and put it out there for you to read if you want, or don’t whatever.  Just fair warning, it’s probably going to be long and I’ll probably break it up over a couple of weeks or something just so you don’t end up to bored.  Or that I don’t end up to bored.

The first time I ever heard of the ERB…I was in San Diego at the TPU (Temporary Processing Unit, or something like that) waiting to get flown out to my ship.  I was there for a couple of days and I hear that there is another dude waiting to fly out to the USS Preble.  Now my friend Snively is there as well but he’s just getting done at the ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) base in Point Loma. I’ve known him since Okinawa, we got there around the same time, and to Point Loma around the same time and as fate would have it the Preble the same time as well.  Anyway, this other dude.  I find him and introduce myself and get his number, after all I’m the highest ranking petty officer and I’m going to start now taking care of my guys.

Before I get to far into the story I’d better finish the ERB thing.  In listening to the guys in charge of TPU I realize I need more information because this is something that could affect me.  They said they would give me all the information and if I needed anything they would be happy to help me.  Of course that was the CO talking and so when I went to find out more information no one had any idea.  I kept on trying but there was just no information out and no one knew anything about this…in retrospect it seemed to start out as a big secret and has remained pretty much a big secret through the whole operation.  Hmmmmmmmm.

As the days wear on a couple of girls show up, let’s call them Maggie 1 and Maggie 2…Yeah, really.  Then a couple of Chiefs show up, now I’m not one to try and shirk my responsibility so I step up like a good STG1 and introduce myself, get their names and numbers and let them know that I am in touch with all our sailors, all 12 of us and that I’ve got everything under control and they just need to do their chiefly stuff and if I need them I’ll give them a call, whew.

One month turns into two, we get the word our flight is ready, even though we have been trying to delay things until the ship actually comes back home so we don’t have to go on deployment.  Haha, fat chance.  My wife has decided before we even left that she was going to drive back east in the Ford to her brother’s house to spend the summer.

We flew through Frankfurt, Germany.  We had 18 hours there and they said, “don’t leave the airport”, ya, right.  So we shared a cab into town.  As a side note on travel, while we were stationed in England and after several trips to London to pick people up from London Heathrow.  I understand that if you only have 18 hours in a big foreign city take the Big Red Bus tour to maximize your time and see the city.  After our Big Red Bus tour we sat at a bar and drank the hard apple cider that was a specialty of the area.   The waitress said, it was refreshing on a hot day, and that most people think it has a bitter taste but after the first one it gets better.   She wasn’t wrong.  Seven drinks later I was about ready to go but couldn’t find my shoes, just kidding.  We made it back to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

I ended up having to rearrange my bags in line because evidently Ethiopian Air is really strict with the weight of your luggage and I didn’t have an extra $300 to pay for an overweight bag.  We arrived at the Ethiopian airport and we to tired to go out this time, besides this time we only had 8 hours.  We ate, drank and napped.  Let me just say this, I don’t know if it was who they hired at the airport or if it was the crew that was working that day but at least in the airport Ethiopia has some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in person.  After such a good nap we were recharged and ready to get to the final leg of our journey…the trip in to Djibouti, Africa.  My impressions are, as we flew in I was looking out the window and thought it looked a lot like District 9. 

We got our luggage and found a way to get to the base, I think a guy called a driver and a truck for luggage and people.  As our luggage was getting loaded it was really hot…at night…really hot…at night…hot…night…darkness…hot….  After three days on the base in Djibouti I now know what it means when someone says “it’s Africa hot.”  The black flag was being raised by 0900 every day and you really did walk from AC to AC as you walked around the base.  At the base club you could buy two beers at a time but you just didn’t because by the time you got done with the first one the second was already hot, that’s hot, not just warm but hot.

Anyway, we couldn’t leave base so we didn’t.  We got a few extra supplies and ended up on an oiler that would take us to the USS Preble.  It was comfortable, we got served our meals and I had my own stateroom.  After three days we met the Preble and finally were able to end our journey.  Well, maybe not the end, let’s say we had reached our destination for that leg of our journey.

Hmmmm, Project 365?

So,

It’s been a while since I’ve heard of project 365.  Have you heard of it?  Well let me tell you a little bit about it.  It is, as you might guess, a photo a day for a year.  Yes, I said a year, that is 365 photos, unless, of course, it happens to be a leap year and in that case you get to take an extra photo, or I suppose you could take a day off during the year and just keep it at 365.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about doing this and there are a couple of different ways I’ve heard this being done.  One is that it’s 365 photos with you somehow in the photo, for instance a picture of a mirror or you reaching around and putting your finger in the scene as you take the photo, pretty much whatever you can think of to get 365 photos with one being taken per day.  So like I couldn’t take 365 photos on January 1 and then post one photo a day for the next year.  Another one is you take one photo a week for a grand total of 52 photos a year, even on a leap year.

All this to say, I think I’m going to take the plunge this year.  Here is what I am thinking though.  I’ll post my photos once a week at least but there should be seven total.  My photos may end up being of the tree out back at night with no light, or the wall, or the carpet.  It can get pretty boring and life, family and time can get in the way but I’ll post something for that day no matter what.

I’ll start on January 1st and go until December 31st of 2013.

I’ll use any camera I have that I can get an image from just in case I don’t have the D7000 with me at the time.

I may end up changing where I post my photos, so I may start here but decide it’s more convenient to move to flickr or something else but I’ll let you know.  I may need encouragement from time to time so feel free to post nice things as I go along and tell me how awesome I am and what a great dad I am and that I am a MAN among men.  Blah, blah, blah.

Ok…ready…set…GO!!!!!…Oh, I guess in a couple of days.

Well…

So,

Let’s say that last week I was living in an apartment and wondering if we’d ever get to leave.  You know how these things work out, you move somewhere with high hopes and then life happens and 10 years later you think to yourself, I was only supposed to live here for six months.  Well, that is how I was feeling last week.

This week has a little bit of a different feel for me.  I feel like I am about to move…oh…let’s say in…well…less than 30 days.  Yes that’s right, the Yamada’s are buying a house.  It’s not as grand as the one we wanted when we first moved here, but it’s nice.  A little back yard but behind the back yard is one of the housing community’s parks and, ya you guessed it, one of the pools.  It’s like having a pool in my back yard but I don’t have to worry about upkeep on the thing.  (Sounds good, right Scott?)  Small patch of grass in the front, which means I’m really going to have to figure out how to convince Jo to let me get that riding lawn mower.

Could use some paint on the inside and I’ll have to get a washer and dryer and of course the refrigerator.  I’m getting one with an ice maker and I’m throwing my stupid ice trays out.  MAN I hate those things.

I’m pretty excited about it, I haven’t gotten any pictures yet, when we went to look at houses I went from work and I didn’t have my camera with me.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get some good snaps tomorrow, Jo wants to look at it again.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for now, I’ll show you what I did in my latest class in a bit.

So….

So….

Here I am, it’s the middle of the night and I’m here in Chandler, AZ.  I’ve been neglecting this blog for so long it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist anymore.  I know I’ve said before that I’d try to do better and post more stuff and then I suppose life happened and I didn’t make it back on here until now.

Just a quick update, I got kicked out of the Navy.  Ok, not kicked out, let’s say I ended up getting involuntarily separated due to force manning restrictions.  Well basically, I got fired, laid off, or downsized however you want to slice it I don’t work for the Navy anymore.  It has affected my life so much, I still get up in the morning to go to work and as soon as I step out the front door remember that I am missing my hat/cover.

Anyway…short version, I got  a job in Chandler Arizona at the Intel manufacturing plant.  We are living here now, we’ve moved into a furnished apartment and our stuff is still in storage in San Diego.  I like it…ok, ya it is a serious pay cut but I get to be home EVERY night with my family and I NEVER have to leave them for time that is counted in months.  Pretty sweet.

Couple of things I’ve been thinking about, I’m still/back in school and I’d like to share with family and friends how I am doing and show off some of my work and I am going to do that here.  I was also going to try and add some ERB(that’s me getting fired) stuff here as it comes up, 14½ years is a long time and I still get emotional about it.  My walk with God has also taken some GIGANTIC steps…toward Him and I’d like to share that journey here with you as well.  That should give me plenty of stuff to write about.

Also, please, if you have any questions or comments, you want to get in touch with me or you just have an idea about photography, being laid off, life or God e-mail me or leave me a comment.

Hopefully I’ll be able to bring some really great pictures here and some “art” projects I’ve had to work on from school.  In parting let me leave you with this….

Camping in AZ with the Fritzs(?)

 

Love ya,

Brent

Date With Jake

So,

Just like Quinn kept asking me out on a date, Jake, the quiet one, didn’t.  He is a bit more shy than Quinn and sometimes it takes a bit more to get him to say something or tell me something that he wants to do.  Anyway, since I went out with Quinn for lunch I needed to take Jake out as well.  Now Jake has been riding, like actually riding, bikes for a bit longer than Quinn.  He is quite good at it, before I get into that however, let me tell you from the beginning.

Jake and I have been on vacation for  a while now.  Jake’s is his school’s Christmas break, and mine is Christmas stand down, both breaks were needed and will be a bummer when they end.  Anyway, when he went on his break I decided to take him out to lunch, lunch for us was at Burger King, which is an old favorite from Okinawa.  I’d take the boys in the stroller and Skuut and we’d walk down to Burger King and have some lunch.  Ahhhhhhh, good times.

So lunch.  Well when I went on the date with Quinn I told Jake to think of something for us to do.  I went bike riding with Quinn and because they are brothers and not to be out done, well and it’s just good fun, Jake and I went to ride bikes as well.  Now understand my bike, a Kona Stinky-Dee, hasn’t been worked on or ridden in several years and I don’t ride it because it needs some lovin’.  Anyway, when I say we went bike riding, it really isn’t me riding at all, it’s one or both of the boys riding and me either walking along with, or taking pictures or both.  This one was a picture taking trip. and since Jake has been riding for so much longer than Quinn it wasn’t quite as fun or exciting and he just really did well.

Jake Ridin'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact he was doing so well he thought he’d catch a quick look at me to make sure I was taking pictures of him.

Jake posing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to get some pictures of Jake posing with his bike but he wasn’t as natural with doing the posing and there ended up being a lot of cheese.

Jake still posing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the sun was out and it was quite bright.  Both my boys, and I have this crazy squinty eye thing in bright sun, or even in not quite as bright sun…and it’s not because we’re Asian either.hehe

Look at that, and don't let it fool you, those little bikes are heavy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He did want to show me how strong he was by picking up his bike and carrying it to the back of the car.  And it’s not a very well advertised fact but those little bikes, the frames are made out of lead and so they are quite heavy.  I think they do that so the kids can build up the strength in their legs to pedal the bigger bikes.

Anyway, he got tired of riding and the posing wasn’t working out so I decided to change tactics and get him into a situation where he could more easily be himself.

So this is Jake not posing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we were in the parking lot next to the YMCA, which also had a ball field and we put the bike up and went inside the fence.  After I gave him the ring pop…ya, right, I totally remember those also…he totally loosened up and the cheese in his face was gone and we got to some real smiles and his personality came out.

Delicious ring pop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And he got to do some goofy stuff.

I can't decide if this one is my favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or if it's this one?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those last two pictures, I can’t decide which one is my favorite, they are both a little silly, they both have pretty good smiles and they both are showing off the ring pop…I know, that’s what I said….

Well, we had a good time, and I’m really glad I was able to get him out of his posing for pictures mode and into a more fun and real mode so we could get some better pictures.

Date With Quinn

So,

Over the last month or so my son, Quinn, has kept coming up to me and saying…”Dad, remember when we went on a date?”, “Yes, son I remember.”  “Let’s go on another date.”  After that my heart fills with pride and joy that he would want to hang out with me.  Now I am not expecting this to continue but I am hoping that it will for both of them.

Today though he picked for us to go out to McDonalds, he called it the one with the arches.  We went, we ate, we talked, and he told stories.  I ended up dropping my phone in catsup, but luckily it missed going in all the important holes.  We had fries and McNuggets, I had a Big Mac, Quinn had Strawberry Fanta.  It was delicious…strangely enough I actually don’t mind McDonalds, but I did offer up Wendy’s but he didn’t choose that one.

I told him we could go ride his bike, or actually he could, it’s not big enough for the two of us, and then we could go eat lunch.  Of course that isn’t what he had in mind he wanted to eat then ride and since it was his date I conceded and let him have it his way, which is actually  Burger King and where we normally go.  After we ate we drove to the Y by our house and in the back there is a big parking lot which today was completely empty and so made for some nice space to ride around without having to worry about getting hit by a car or running into people or other bikers or anything really, except the curb, which he did once or twice.  Good thing it wasn’t a street full of cars, parked or moving.

As a side note, I might have mentioned that I got a new camera.  I’ve been saving my bones up and through a couple of early Christmas presents I saved up enough to get it in time for opening presents.  Oh, and I spent a couple of days on my homework, got it done and turned in and viola…camera.  Thanks wife.  She finally put me over the edge.  Anyway, all that to say I took my new camera out to take some pictures of Quinn riding his bike around the parking lot.

Quinn is riding his bike, actually with the pedals

He learned a new trick, which isn’t so much of a trick as just a skill that I’ve found actually needs to be learned.  Both Jake and Quinn learned to ride a bike, the balance part, on a Skuut, The problem they both had was that they needed to “learn” how to actually make the pedals to ’round and ’round.

Just being cool

And then he just suddenly struck a pose, I guess since I had my camera out he felt compelled to strike a mighty pose.

So, of course he is Joelle’s son which means he really likes to talk and tell stories.  In this case, you will notice on the above picture there is a hand brake.  Now this hand brake goes to the front wheel, but it doesn’t work worth a darn, but anyway, he wanted to show me how it worked.  He just started riding a bike and so that would be to much, back to his feet….

So you're going along...

and movin'...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then you get ready...

And then you Squeeze...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And squeeze!!!

How great is that.  Now you all know how to use the hand brake on your bikes.  He really did a great job getting out there and pedaling and just plain ol’ not crashing into to much stuff.  He’s my boy and I’m proud of him.

On the other hand, the camera was wonderful.  I had it on CL which for Nikon is Continuous Low speed, and I didn’t feel like I was struggling to get the next shot off before the bike went by.  I used my 35mm prime lens the whole time which was really cool, and also meant that I wasn’t worried about him getting to far away and not being able to crop way in, the new camera adds 10MP to the old one.

it’s got a lot of buttons and dials and switches that I am still figuring out but I’ll get there…eventually.

And on that note I leave you to it.  Have a great day.

What’s Next?

So,

I have been in the Navy for 13 ½ years, and last week I found out that my last day on active duty is the first of September 2012.

The Navy has decided that certain rates, STG…me, are over manned and they need to get rid of some of those that are overmanning those rates.  They said they were going to kick out the people who had been to Captain’s Mast, or have failed their PRT(Physical Readiness Test).  I haven’t done any of those and I still am getting the axe.  They were given a quota of 2,888 to kick out and in the end cut 2,947.

It’s been a good run though, I’ve lived in Hawaii(a tropical island paradise), even got married there.  I’ve lived in England, although it was Cornwall way down south it was still another country and we did do a lot of traveling and site seeing, and they speak English.  I’ve also lived in Japan, although that was Okinawa…again, way down south, and they don’t speak English.  Still, we’ve lived in some pretty fantastic places and have seen and done some pretty amazing things.

I was planning on going into photography, starting my own business and trying to earn a living at something that I actually enjoyed rather than doing something that wasn’t my favorite.  I’m a bit short on that and have a ton to learn still…I thought I had time.

So now what am I going to do?

I do have a secret clearance, that’s gotta help, right?  I will have 14½ years of experience in the world of sonar.  I do have leadership experience.  All that has to count for something, right?  Jo reminded me that we will be debt free when tax time finally gets here, we can go anywhere and do anything and be anything…what do I want to be?  MAN, this is a more difficult decision than deciding Canon or Nikon.

It Brought a Tear to My Eye

So,

I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned in such a public forum that my wife and I have decided to buy a house.  Now this is a really big decision, especially since the housing industry hasn’t been doing very good for a little while now.  We were, of course, going to move to WA and try for a posting at Whidbey Island.  However, since then Jake has started school and we really like the school he is in.  He will be fluent in Mandrin and have a good grasp on Spanish and of course be fluent in English as well.  The teachers seem nice, and Jake likes the school.  Anyway, the point is we are staying in SD.

So the one thing I think that is cool about moving is you get to get rid of a bunch of stuff that you don’t need.  Well, we’ve just moved but we have also had to bring together two different shipments from two different places.  When we left England to go to Okinawa we were only allowed to take ¼ of our belongings.  This ended up being nice for us since we had to get some new stuff for our house and it really helped us to not have all the clutter around.  The bummer thing is when we moved back to the states we had to combine all the stuff we acquired in Okinawa with all the stuff we left behind in England.

Well, we just finally went through the garage to find some stuff for a yard sale we think we might have this upcoming weekend…MAN, this is turning out to be a long back story….  Anyway, we need to eat dinner right.  A couple of weeks ago my Mom and Dad came down for a visit and my Dad, who is the proud owner of a Traegar.  This is a pellet smoker/grill type of thing that is really neat…anyway!!!!!!!!  He made some tri-tip and brought it down, smoked it for 5 hours.  Ya, that’s right, SMOKED…TRI-TIP…5…FIVE…hours.  Anyway, I just got one of those out last night.

On the grill to heat up and finish cooking

That is it…a huge piece of meat on the grill, sorry it’s such a bad picture, I did it on a whim and with my iPhone, I put it on there so it could get that crust and warm up as well as finish cooking.  And….

The finished product

And this is what I ended up with.  Would you please note the pink around the edge…Ya, you got it, that’s the smoke ring or flavorfulness.  It was so good, it brought a tear to my eye.  Now I love food and the food they serve on the ship…well not to talk bad about the cooks on the ship but it isn’t the best.  A good steak on the ship…well, let’s say it doesn’t exist.  Now enter this smokey wonder…the last time a meal made me tear up was when Jo and I went to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.  I remember I had the Fillet, it was so good I cried, this was so good….

Anyway, just wanted to share how good my dinner was last night and say a super big “THANKS” to my Dad for the wonderful smokey experience.  How does it do on Turkey?  Thanks-giving is right ’round the corner.  Oh and Chirstmas, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

So, I Realize….

So,

I’m back right.  And since I’ve gotten back from deployment I realized that I have not written very much of anything since I left Okinawa.  I know earlier I said I was going to and then I didn’t and now what, I’m going to say I’m going to and I might not again but the bottom line is that I am back.  Back in the states from both Okinawa and from a short deployment to the…well…let’s just call it a Western Pacific Deployment.

Ok so here is what I think I am going to do with the ol’ blog here.  I am really going to make an effort to keep up with it and post some pictures just to share some of the stories that go with the pictures while I was gone.  Nothing really interesting happened but I did get a chance to dive in Bali, and visit Da Nang, Vietnam, I got to go out in town in Singapore this time and finally made it to Hong Kong.  I never once stepped foot in Bahrain this time ’round, but I did get to go to Djibouti, Africa.  I now know what they mean by African Heat, I flew over Ethopia and got to drink some apple beer in Germany.

As a photographer I am disappointed in the amount of pictures I ended up with but as a sailor who was in a lot of new ports I really did pretty good getting the pictures instead of just finding out what the inside of the various countries bars looked like.  Although I did do some of that, and I have to tell you, very much like every other bar I’ve ever been in.  I did discover that I think I am about ready for a camera upgrade but I am still trying to figure out how I am going to afford that.

Thanks for bearing with me and in the meantime let me leave you with this.

The Breakaways

The ship has a band…it’s the ship’s band and they call themselves…The Breakaways.  This is the…well, I guess he’s the lead guitarist, and he’s pretty darn good.  The Hard Rock café in Hong Kong.  It was a pretty good concert and they really did a good job for a bunch of guys that are stuck on a ship and have other things on their minds than practicing.