This is gonna be crazy Navy-centric, but that's because it's been a good bit of my life, and humans talk the most about what we know the most about. #dealwithit
Also: The content on this page is static, which means that it's highly unlikely to change once finished (see potential footnote at the bottom... where footnotes would go).
Trigger warning: I'm not remotely politically correct here.
T̶r̵i̴g̸g̵e̶r̸ ̸w̶a̵r̴n̴i̶n̸g̸: I'm not forced to have a filter here.
T̶̨̙̫̜̲̲̄͗̒̌̂͗͋͘r̶͍̠̲̯̻̦̍̉͛̈͋͜i̵̠͙͛̉͜g̷͂͂̍͑̇̅̔͝ͅg̴̯̫̫̮͔̉̏̇̋ȩ̸̤̯̗̣̜̣̺̚͝r̵̞͙͙͉̐̏͌́̐͠ ̷͉̻̲̓̈́͌̆̔̎͑͜ͅw̷͍͇͙̙̫̿̓̈͜a̷̢̨̭̰̺͕͆̿̈́̃̈́̂̌͜͠r̶̡̡͓͓͖̰͈̣̽̀̈́͆̕n̸͎̜͐̌̑̍i̸̢̱͚̪̙̮͊̑̉̒̽͗͑͘n̵͚͇̮̟̈́̏̃ģ̷͆́̄͂̊: You've been warned.
Not a whole lot to say here that wouldn't be a terribly stupid idea under the umbrella of OPSEC, buuuuuut...
I've been in the Navy for 19 years (if that number exceeds 21 at most, I haven't updated this page and you should reach out and let me know that I'm a lazy sack of crap), and I plan on retiring very, very soon. As far as my decision to join the Navy: it wasn't because of patriotism (though I'd definitely die for this country), nor to pay for college (though I'm gonna milk the crap outta that GI Bill when I retire), nor to travel (because once you've seen the picture of something, seeing it in person really makes no difference).
No, I joined the Navy because when my recruiter called me up, I had a distinct problem with saying "no".
(I no longer have this problem.)
As the end of each contract loomed closer, I found myself mired in stupid amounts of debt, and I became one of them shmucks who needed the Navy far more than the other way around, so I just kept on going. At certain points, the sunk cost fallacy also reared its ugly head, but I managed to mostly ignore that.
(For cereals: read that article if you've sunk a lot of time/money/etc. into something and feel like "if I've come this far, might as well see it to its end".)
When I joined, my recruiter enticed me with a job card that had "works alone or in small groups" and "works in air-conditioned spaces" as the selling points. As such, I've done my time with the following objectives:
...which then became the basis for my maxim:
When I was a "junior" dude, I never cared to go above and beyond, and as a "senior" dude, I don't expect more than that from my folks.
Interestingly, these have proven (in my rate, anyway) attributes that get you promoted. Not necessarily gonna break any speed records by doing the bare minimum, but you'll get there eventually. I joined as a CTO (Cryptologic Technician, Operator), which had super crappy advancement (promotion) ability (talking around 1.3% to E-4), and managed to get E-4 out of "A" school. The rating got merged with ITs, so I got automagically promoted to E-5 for just existing, and then I hit E-6 after nine years in.
Life was good, I was guaranteed to be able to stick around until retirement was possible at 20 years.
If you've been reading this entire thing, it goes without saying that that wasn't ever always the intent. Even up until my fourteen-year mark, my journal entries remind me that the idea of FTN (**** The Navy) was pretty persistent over the duration of my time in.
One of the things that I absolutely loved about the Navy when I first got in—read, boot camp—was the structure that it gave me. I'd gone from being a 210lb+ fat kid without a plan (if this applies to you, I'm definitely judging you) to a thin kid (154 lbs) that had a pretty-well planned out existence.
Random aside: I've discovered that my favorite color can best be expressed in hexadecimal as #0069b3. It's a lovely shade of blue that's absolutely sublime... but doesn't really work well on dark mode color schemes.
Fast forward to now. I've been a Chief Petty Officer/E-7/whatever since 2018, and I can definitely say beyond the shadow of a doubt: the costume is better—and the pay is obviously better—but I'm not a big fan of just how absolutely the illusion was shattered. TLDR: Went from somewhat aspiring to be a Chief to discovering that life at that level and beyond is just meeting.
The meeting isn't relevant to you? You don't have anything to put out that's relevant to others? Doesn't matter, you better be there.
And so here I sit, counting down the days until the meetings are over... once and for all.
One of the things that I've gotten into fairly recently (as of this writeup) is growing hot peppers.
A coworker-friend of mine had mentioned it in passing back around 2016 timeframe, and I hadn't bothered to take it seriously or look into it too deeply until I changed duty stations and managed to get myself a house. Not really an excuse for ignoring it since he'd been growing them out of a grow tent, but it also just wasn't a priority.
But with a house comes a back yard, comes the idea that maybe I can do this gardening thing.
Tried my hand the first year with a few habanero plants I'd ordered from Amazon. Those made it for the most part, but it was a rough first year.
Since then, I've tried different approaches like hydroponics and what I refer to as pseudo-hydroponics (with coco coir and hydroponic nutrients), and ultimately just went with the traditional soil approach, while still using hydroponic nutrients. It's worth mention that I've found the best luck when growing plants in these nifty fabric grow pots, which help prevent what's known as root binding.
Root binding is what happens when the roots of a plant expand outward looking for more room for growth, and upon contacting the hard edges of a plastic or ceramic pot, just double back. This eventually leads to a massive wad of roots that doesn't allow for further growth and can eventually kill the plant. Whereas with cloth pots, the roots grow out until they get to the pot walls, get exposed to air, and just die there.
Sounds extreme, but this promotes a healthier root system by causing more roots to spread from the main plant, as opposed to individual roots trying to find more space that doesn't exist.
And that's all there is to me, really. Navy dude. Enjoys growing hot peppers, programming, occasional gaming, and... yep.