Let me tell you a story.


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.


What’s Next?


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.

I’ve Narrowed It Down


I know I keep writing about what God’s voice sounds like to me, I’ve done it here and also here.  Ok, so the title is a bit off, I’m not actually getting anything narrowed down I just wanted to have different title.  I didn’t want it to be the boring 3rd part in a trilogy, the ever so boring title “God’s Voice, part III”.  I mean, really?  Who’d want to read that?  The new one is much more mysterious, more exciting.  Don’t you think it’s like “ohhhhhhh, what did Brent do now?”  Maybe?

Anyway, let’s get to it.  So just to recap, God’s voice sounds like the TV or TV shows…ummmm…detailer…and just as an added emphasis possibly a website.

Wow that was quick, whatever who cares it’s a recap, it’s supposed to be quick.  Now for the real story.  So, the other day…I was putting the boys to bed and I usually get a request from one or both of “Dad will you lay down with me for  a couple of minutes”, or “Dat, nay doun me”, I think there may be more words in that last one but Quinn’s enunciation is not quite up to Jake’s level, but then again, I don’t think I’m at Jakes level either.  So I lay down with Quinn first, it’s part of a strategy, if I start out with Quinn, when I lay down with Jake I will still be in the room with Quinn and maybe he won’t need me to lay down some more with him when I get up to go down stairs, does that make any sense?  So, this night, by the time I get to lay down with Jake, it’s more than a few minutes later, I MIGHT, have dozed off.  Jake is pretty much asleep and stirs a bit when I get into bed with him, he rolls over, gives me a big hug and says…”It’s ok dad, Sandy Eggo is better than Whidbey Island anyway.”

I said “Thanks buddy” and gave him a big hug and a kiss lay there for 30 seconds and ran downstairs to tell Jo what had just happened.  Of course she is amazed and we were both like…well…WOW (which of course should not be confused with WoW or World of Warcraft)  How amazing is that?  …Ok, but that’s not all…

So the other night we’re watching the Olympics on the TV.  Of course we were since we can’t actually be THERE watching them it has to be on TV.   Duh.  Anyway, this commercial comes on…Ok, we need a little bit of back ground…Jo and I have been thinking about buying a house.  We want someplace close to base but not that close, we want some place safe, we want someplace where there are things to do for the kids but not so far away that it makes a trip into town an impossibility.  We’ve fou…ok, ok, Jo has found a couple of places that fit the bill.  One such place is called Jamul, and it is almost directly east of Sandy Eggo, 8 acres, nice house.  The other one, and Jo’s favorite is in a place called Santee, the house is cheaper, it is near a chain of stocked lakes with trout and something else for fishing, there are some kids nature classes and more all within an easy walk from the house.  We’ve prayed about what to do because it is such a huge step and we don’t know what the plan is.  With Whidbey Island we knew we were going to stay there, with Sandy Eggo we are sure we aren’t but aren’t that sure.  Back to the story…I…we, were doing our usual watching of TV during the commercial, not paying any attention because it’s AFN(Armed Forces Network), not the best commercials.  So you can understand, I either skip the Superbowl all together or I watch the Superbowl not for the commercials but because I am hoping to see an amazing game.  All of a sudden I look up and I am watching all these people scroll across the TV from left to right…I can see their name tapes…Smith…Jones…Fredrickson…Santee…Phil…wait a minute…I look over at Jo and just simply ask “did you see that” she actually missed all the other name and just looked up in time to see Santee.

At this point there has not been any more discussion about Sandy Eggo, I think at this point we are both shocked and amazed.




Until a week or so ago I didn’t even know Santee was a place, never heard of it before.  Now it’s on a guys uniform?  And I’m sure it’s not just because we are thinking about buying a house there, that I am “tuned” into the word.  I tend to see people names on their uniforms in the military just because it’s their name and I want to see if they are out of uniform.

At this point, I think we’ve surrendered to God’s will.  We are waiting for orders, we are waiting to find out for sure where we are going and what we are doing, where He want’s to send us, to do what He want’s us to do.  We’ve stopped looking on the internet for houses, we’ve only been preparing for a move.  Selling some stuff, straightening up some rooms for easy packing.  And what a great feeling, to know that we are in such loving hands, such powerful hands.

My Wife….


My wife…is about the most amazing person I know.  She is truly a SUPERHERO to my boys, the girls and me.  Here is what makes her super….

This weekend she had her dreams crushed, I mean destroyed.  She has a picture of our lives and what she wants out of life and how we should be living.  She wants to raise her own chickens, if we could find the land to do it, she’d raise her own cows both for eating and milking.  There would definitely be some sort of garden and probably it would be significant.  We would go to farmers markets and personally know a fishmonger, a butcher and a baker.  We would not have HFCS in our diet, nor would we have Xantham Gum, Monosodium Glutimate(MSG), or maltodextrin.  We would like to eat “Hippie” and with all the other stuff be “Hippie”, to include live in a veritable “Hippie” place.  That was Whidbey Island for Jo.  She has more websites from her research of the place in her bookmarks than I’ve ever had in my life.  She has been researching for months and within the space of one day had it all taken away….

She called her parents, cried, was sad and hasn’t done the dishes.  This is since Friday night…LATE.  Today is Tuesday.  So this is, like, 3 days later.  Now for the new place, she has a website list that rivals (possibly beats) the Whidbey Island list.  She’s already found a place for us to get grass finished beef, she’s found a place for us to live…while we are looking for a house to buy.  She has found schools for the kids to go (Japanese) which are probably to expensive to enroll them into.  She has met with several people, sent e-mails and chatted…did I forget to mention I got sick today, I was going to be a good husband and do the dishes for her.  I got sick, and SHE did the dishes for ME.

She is my friend and the mother to my kids.  She is the keeper and caretaker of my family, she pushes me to new levels, new limits.  I’m back in college, Jake will have an easier time learning Japanese in the future, Quinn is the strongest most coordinated kid in his gymnastics class, and Kira is BE-E -A-U-TIFUL.


God’s Voice Also Sounds Like….


My schedule lets me have 24 hours off in the middle of my string.  That means I have 2 days on, then I’m off for 24 hours, then I have 2 nights, then I’m off for 4 days(a.k.a. my 96)  I used to stay up really late and then try to sleep all day before my nights, but I’ve been having a hard time staying up late enough, and my sleep gets all messed up.  The new strategy I’ve been using the last several months is, I come home from my 2nd day and go to bed, then I wake up(usually) at like 2 am, then I try to go to sleep at 9 or 10 later that morning.  Clear as tapioca pudding, right?

Anyway,  Friday was my 24 (the night I come home and go to bed and wake up really early).  The day before, I had gotten an e-mail from my detailer (guy who gets me my orders) saying that I would not be able to have Whidbey Island and I would have to go to school in San Diego first.  Joelle wrote about it here already.  We had written out a list of questions to ask but because it’s me and I don’t work well under that kind of pressure I just started rolling with the punches and I didn’t think I asked all the questions.

As it turns out, my family is too big….  Hang on, the oldest child is only 4, how can that be too big?  I mean I can fit everything the kids have into their closet, including the crib and the beds, their toys, and…EVERYTHING.  How can this be?  Well, the Navy doesn’t consider how old the kids are, they are just a number.  They hear 4 dependents and that means X dollars, they plug the stuff into the computer and it spits out a number, not a care in the world for my actual situation.

I wrote a while back about the sound of God’s voice, and now I evidently have an addition to that, it also sounds like the detailer telling me where I HAVE to go.

It’s ok though.  We are heart-broken, we have friends in the Seattle area and moving there soon that we will not see, that we will miss.  When we prayed about where we should go, it seemed like Washington was where He was telling us.  But now it’s San Diego and I know He has a plan for us there.  I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s because someone needs us there.  Maybe there is something we need to do there or that He wants us to do.  Or Maybe, just MAYBE, He wants us to….

Can You Believe It???


I wrote about PC vs. Mac a while back, I’ve been trying to figure out whether I should go with a Mac or stick with PC.  Well the decision is in.  I ordered an iMac, but I did not come to this decision lightly.  It seems, PC people really do HATE Mac.  I’m not talking about those PC people who have a PC because they can’t afford a Mac, or those people who just haven’t switched to Mac yet.  I’m talking about those people who really do love their PCs.  Ya, those guys, they HATE Mac.

Mac people on the other hand really do like their Macs, you might say they love their Macs.  I have spoken with Mac people the most over the last several weeks, mostly because I know what the PC guys are going to say.  I wanted to find out what the Mac guys had to say.  Strangely enough there are something like 4 Mac guys here on the island that actually work at the BX on Kadena or the PX on Camp Foster.  I’ve run into 2 of them.

The first guy was a PC guy and is now a Mac guy and I asked him “Photoshop or Aperture?”(Photo programs)  And the 1st Mac guy said Aperture, but he was running videos on the Macs and didn’t really have too much information, so not really that helpful.

The second guy is neither a Mac guy nor is he a PC guy, he’s a UNIX guy.  Since he is a UNIX guy and Macs are UNIX he is a Mac guy by default.  When I asked him “Photoshop or Aperture?” he says to me “GIMP”.(Gimp is the UNIX Photoshop that is free)  I am thinking to myself, this guys an idiot and I’d like to punch him in the face.  Stop being a smarty pants and answer the stupid question.

2 of the 4 Mac guys here on the island are idiots and have the job as Mac guys because they…well…I don’t really know, but they are idiots and were no help to me what-so-ever.

The biggest help I got  came from EVERYONE else I spoke to or e-mailed.  It appears that everyone who’s anyone in the world of photography uses Mac, now I’m sure there are the anyone’s out there who do use PC but for the purpose of this discussion I’m not talking about those folks.  I’m talking about the people who have said to me Mac’s just work, it just works.  I don’t have to download blah blah blah, virus blah blah blah, doesn’t crash blah blah blah, it just works.

So…I ordered it the other day, actually I think it was the 21st and the stupid thing has been sitting in Brooklyn for the last 4 days.  So, anyway, I came down stairs on Christmas day and turned on my PC so I could check the shipping status of the Mac…I turned on my PC so I could check…I turned on my PC…hmmmmm…I TURNED ON MY PC!!!!!!!

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.  Now it appears I have some sort of Power Supply problem, maybe.  Now I’m not saying Macs don’t have problems, I’m sure they do have problems.  But…

Macs…  they just work.

That wasn’t so bad!


That wasn’t as bad as, ummmmm, well, as bad as, well…as it could have been.  You see, I just finished my first term back at college.  Up to this point, and there are 2 assignments to grade still, I’ve only dropped 7 points.  The next to last assignment I think I did good on, but the last one…well, I thought I had read somewhere it had to be like 1 or 2 slides, man was I wrong.  While I was trying to take stuff out everyone…EVERYONE was putting more in.  Aaaaaaaaugh!!!!

I had to work and I couldn’t do the homework at work because all the stuff I needed was at home.  I couldn’t download the example she had for us because I couldn’t find it.

Anyway, before it’s all going to be over I’m going to end up dropping a few more points(Thank goodness for partial credit)but not to many.  I’m figuring since I have 97.76% I’ll still end up with an A.  Not bad for my first time back.

If only I’d done this back in 1988, wait…Oh, I remember, in 1988 I knew all of 4 people including me and had no idea what in the world I wanted to do.  I guess it has pretty much taken me 20 years to figure out what I wanted to get a degree in.  Not really something they tell you when you are starting out college at 18.

A huge thanks to everyone out there who has written an e-mail to me or on my FB, sent me something through the snail mail, called or in some other way offered me some words of encouragement.  It was only 5 1/2 weeks, but about 1/2 way through the class I started to get a little sluggish with my homework.  I made it through, however, and made a couple of online friends, I don’t think I’ve ever done that.

My next class is Computer Literacy, I’ll be getting into the photography classes after that, hopefully that one won’t overwhelm me.  I’ve gotten a lot worse at computer stuff since I’m old and got kicked in the head.  Oh, and here’s a bit of news if you follow my blog much….

I’ve decided to go with Mac.  In my research I discovered Mac people say Mac and PC people say they don’t know.  Also there’s the part about anyone who is anyone in photography uses Mac.  I’m not really sure what that means, but it sure does sound important.  Anyway, it just makes more sense to use Mac for photography for me right now.  I’ll try and get some good posts in over the next 96 and the next 96, which is basically the time between now and the start of the next term.