Monday, December 3, 2012

Nutty Freelance Writing Clients #7

Oh where do I begin?

"Me Need Writer.  Not Temporary.  Permanent."  Five Hundred words gets you one whole American dollar!  Gosh, if this were the Roarin' Twenties we'd be in business!  Now, when you think of the word permanent do you think of less than ten hours of one week of your life?  Just sayin....

Nutty Freelance Writing Clients #6

For some reason, it seems that ever since the release of  "50 Shades of Grey" that some freelance sites have been inundated with requests from potential clients to write erotic fiction.  This is one of them, and even in its own world it's odder than a lion trying to make love to a squirrel.

You gotta love it when people use legal sounding terms to outline the terms of an agreement to write a smut book.  Now, the part that particularly gets me is where the client outlines that the project is personal and is for them and their significant other.  How the hell is it personal if you have somebody else do it for you?  And at twenty five thousand words, they are edging dangerously close to being what seems to be the market price for a freelance job online.  Now, the client for some reason needs the project done before the first of January.  Great, just in time for the holidays.  Nothing says intensely personal like I paid somebody else to do it.

Nutty Freelance Writing Clients #5

Oh where oh where do I begin?  Well, I guess the only logical thing to do is let you read the post first...
Now that you're done, let's go through as much of this as possible.  First of all, twenty dollars.  Now twenty bucks may be nothing to sneeze at if you're a ten year old mowing the neighbor's lawn.  However, for the less than cleverly drawn up amount of six hundred and sixty-six unique ways to torture somebody; I don't think the enthusiasm in the project will be there.  I mean seriously, after the first hundred or so methods of torture some of them will end up less than funny.  The Simpsons has been on for over twenty years for example.  Can you honestly say that every episode of that show is funny?  You can't.

The best part about this particular posting is that they want your qualifications about why you'd be the perfect candidate to come up with so many ways to torture people.  Oh and it's a WORK FOR HIRE job, meaning your name will never be associated with it.  Thank god.  I can't imagine sitting in an office ten years from now and a potential client asking me about the list of torture ideas.  This kind of shit will definitely get you on the no fly list.

Nutty Freelance Writing Clients #4

Now, everyone likes a good comedy right?  Even better if it's something your kids can enjoy.  Hey, animation is always good.  Those Pixar folks are just swimming in money from animation.  Which means a script for a good animated kids comedy must go for upwards of thousands of dollars right?  RIGHT?

Not exactly.  For a hundred dollars, you'll be lucky to find a scriptwriter that can actually write let alone be able to do it.  Think of it this way, Ed Wood's screenwriters probably got paid more than a hundred dollars. And they wrote Plan 9 for Christ's sake.  So, all I have to do is come up with all the idea?  That's great, but what if it requires more than one idea?  Do I get another hundred for each additional idea, or does that extravagant fee cover any ancillary ideas that may come along?

Nutty Freelance Writing Clients #3

This following example almost escaped being put into the "Nutty" category.  However, upon close inspection you may be able to see that some things may be amiss.

Upon closer inspection, you can see that there's no actual timeline for how long the client in question wants you to work for them.  Does the two hundred dollars mean a month?  Seven hundred years?  Yes, your writing skills should be good.  The one problem would be with the aggressive tone in the last line.  It practically screams "expect to be fired without warning".

Nutty Freelance Writing Clients #2

Folks, I just don't know where to begin with this one....
Let's see, you've got the estimated budget of two to three dollars.  The client also wants you to know what a press release is.  Hey buddy, I don't even bother to remember my own damn name for anything less than four.  As you can see, I am certain the client also wants you to follow the same attention to grammar that they do.

Nutty Freelance Writing Clients #1

Hi there folks.  As some of you may know, every once in a while I get the urge to actually write something for money.  Seems kinda strange, doesn't it?  Yes, I know it does.  However, the online freelance writing world is not as easy as one would think.  To get a really good client, or a really good payday you occasionally have to sift through what seems like an endless pile of folks that have simply lost the plot.  In this  series, I am going to present actual listings posted on actual freelance writing sites.  I have done no editing save for blacking out anything that would get me in legal trouble.  Let me bring up the first one.

I think I'm beginning to wonder what's worse, the people needing the story written; or the person that agrees to write it?  I can only imagine the notes in the revisions the client would ask...

"Um yeah, everything looks good.  However, your short description of the story where somebody gets diddled by a team of eighteen wheelers isn't nearly realistic enough."

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention in case you didn't see it that the client is going to check your work for plagiarism.  You know, because there's just so many people vying for his fifteen dollars.  And six thousand words!  I didn't think you needed six thousand to describe what this person wants.

Oh, and another common thing you will see in some freelance jobs, this one is WORK FOR HIRE.  Which of course means that you can't have your name attached to the story in any respect.  I can't imagine why you wouldn't.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Life In A Small Town #4

               If anyone has seen the classic Seinfeld episode “The Bottle Deposit” than you are probably familiar with what I am about to tell you.  The State of Michigan offers ten cents apiece to anyone that returns their empty bottles or cans.  This became the form of currency that a great many of us abided by back in our younger days.  Now, when most of us get done with a soda we toss it into our garbage can.  In Michigan however, empty cans and bottles are something like a form of currency.  See, once a week or so some of us would go into the garage with a garbage bag and fumble through the cut in half refrigerator box to collect cans.  We knew that each can found put us one step closer to renting Rocky 3 for the fifty third time.
                You couldn’t just walk in and give a video store your cans.  One would have to take them somewhere else to get them counted, get your money and then go rent Rocky 3 for the fifty third time.  This meant you had to go into that weird back room of the grocery store to count them and then inform the clerk of how many you had.  Or depending on which store you went to, you had to stand at the customer service counter and count them out in full view of the other patrons.  Who were likely looking at you like, “look at that poor bastard having to count all those cans.”
                Some adults when it came to can counting took it to extremes.  They would save up all of their cans for the entire year.  Lord only knows where they would keep the damned things.  They would then fill up what seemed like an entire conversion van with garbage bags of tin aluminum cans.  The process of counting them would take upwards of an hour and then they would walk away with perhaps enough to buy a case of beer to start the whole process over again.  It’s just like a certificate of deposit, just with cans and bottles.  And it’s possibly dripping a mixture of several substances out of a partially sliced up garbage bag when you go to cash it in.

Life In A Small Town #3

               Growing up in a small town, especially in the pre-internet days, it almost seemed you got ahold of trends and fads when they were at odd swings of popularity.  Take for instance, the Macarena.  That wonderful little dance that combined two of America’s favorite wedding reception dances the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey.
                I remember visiting some relatives in Chicago around the time the Macarena craze hit the nation.  Being from a town that neighbored on one of the four smallest broadcast television network markets, I didn’t see the dance craze coming at first.  Hell, this was at a time when we had fewer than fifty cable channels.  Can you believe it kids?  There was actually a time when you had fewer than fifty channels on TV.  The horror of it still makes me wake up at night in cold sweats.
                As I was saying, one of my out of town relatives tried to explain it to me.  I didn’t quite get it at first, and then I realized it was a dance where you don’t actually really go anything.  You just kind of flap your arms.  The only movement from your lower body came at the end of the motion when you would do a ninety degree turn of your body, bearing the dance’s only resemblance to the Hokey Pokey.
                The Macarena came and went and managed to stay in school dances and wedding receptions; or wherever people that couldn’t dance wanted to try and dance.
                Another odd coming of a fad in my town was when it seemed that overnight, everyone that could get their hands on one was wearing a House of Pain jacket.  Yes, the guys that gave us the hit song “Jump Around” managed to cause quite the stir for a while in my little town.  It was funny, because I remember the jackets had that same color scheme as the title sequence from the show Martin.  Or at least that’s the way I remember things.  We had everything from the Insane Clown Posse to Starter Jackets.  Both of which could be found in secondhand stores and yard sales in same said town ten years later.  Now people can actually afford the Starter jackets.

Life In A Small Town #2

               Another thing that everyone in northern Michigan seems to have; is a story about the time they met Bob Seger.  Yes, Bob is an even bigger legend in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula than Paul Bunyan.  The legendary rock musician during some of his rare downtime during his heyday touring would spend time in Oscoda, or near it.  At least that’s what I am told.  He would spend his time eating at this little bar/restaurant just north of the town, mostly during hunting season.  Remember what I told you folks in #1, people from Michigan really like to stalk and then possibly kill things during the fall. 
                Anyway, Bob would come up and take some much needed time off from his busy touring schedule and spend it hunting on this vast acreage of property he supposedly owned.  So it would seem natural that one or two people that have lived in the area for some time would have a story about when they met the man at a hunting supply store or a restaurant at the end of a long day of trying to give another creature lead poisoning.
                There’s just one problem.  Growing up, there seemed to be so many people that had an “I’ve met Bob Seger at the grocery store/restaurant/gas station” story that they can’t all possibly be true.  Which this has led me to the following conclusion.  Either all of these people are lying, or Bob Seger is a Yeti.
                I know it would seem strange to some of you to think that the man who sang “Turn the Page” would be a Yeti or a Bigfoot.  However, there are enough shows on television concerning the search for Bigfoot that it may just be true.  I’ve probably seem an amount of Bigfoot hunters that is roughly equal to the number of stories of Bob Seger sightings I have heard.  Then again, maybe most of those people are full of it.  Yes, I know it may be hard for some of you to believe; but there are folks that will lie about meeting a celebrity to improve their social standing.
                In northern Michigan, nothing will get people impressed more than a good “I met Bob Seger” story.  I fell for it once myself as a youth.  A friend of the family recounted to us one night how he had met Bob Seger.  The story was almost too unbelievable.  The family friend, who we will refer to as Drake; had been imbibing copious amounts of spirits and was escorted by officers of the law into a neighboring county’s drunk tank.  He is sitting there awhile when the officers escort another gentleman in.  The man informs Drake that he is in fact music legend Bob Seger.  Perhaps the man was just able to convince an inebriated Drake that he was who he said he was.  It could also be that he really was who he claimed to be. 
                It’s funny, most of the Bob Seger stories I’ve heard over the course of my life from people that live in northern Michigan seem to revolve around meeting him in a county drunk tank.  This means that either he has a bigger problem than he ever let on, they are all lying or Bob Seger really is Bigfoot.

Life In A Small Town #1

You know what the messed up thing about growing up in a small town is?  There’s only one of everything.  One McDonald’s, one Burger King and one Arby’s.  Hell, we actually got a Taco Bell at one point, but they had to shoehorn that into the same space that made up the KFC.  Nothing better than the smell of chicken grease and taco grease mixed together.

                I remember the summer that the Taco Bell got wedged into the KFC.  I lived in the small town of Oscoda, Michigan.  Nestled just off the coast of Lake Huron in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan; we were the town that everyone came to go fishing and camping in the summer and shoot harmless woodland creatures in the fall and winter.  Our business was pulling harmless critters out of their natural habitat in a violent manner and to cause their lives to come to an abrupt end.  Oh, I almost forgot.  We also later on that same day would skin them and eat their remains.  Yes, our town had quite the history of violence.
                My apologies, time to get back to my main point.  Our humble little town on the lake used to be a burgeoning metropolis so long as the threat of nuclear war hanged in our faces.  However, with the end of the Cold War the Department of Defense decided to schedule the Air Force base that was built in the town was scheduled to close.  After that, the town basically closed up.
                Quick sidebar before I promise you I’ll get back to talking about Taco Bell.  When I was in high school we had to take as a graduation requirement a state history course.  One of the facts given about our small burg was that at one point Charles Lindberg came to visit.  You know, the same Charles Lindberg that flew across the Atlantic?  Ok, we’re on the same page here.  The teacher, who I will henceforth refer to as Mr. Jim, made a strong point of bringing up that the aviation legend didn’t look like he wanted to be in Oscoda, Michigan all that much the day he made his visit.  Well, I don’t know about you folks but if my kid had been kidnapped and everyone in the world was asking me about it I sure as hell wouldn’t want to come to Oscoda, Michigan.  I digress.
                The day Taco Bell came to town.  It almost seemed to happen under cover of darkness.  There we were one day riding our bikes past the giant neon and glass visage of Colonel Sanders.  The next, there’s an equally neon arrangement of the word taco next to good ol’ Harlan.  Now, you would think that a fast food chain opening up a new location would attract a few people out of morbid curiosity.  The people of Oscoda totally lost their minds. When I say totally lost it, I mean they would park their cars in the lot of the neighboring grocery store and stand in line over an hour or more to order something from Taco Bell.  You see, Oscoda was located in one of those odd spots where it was at least an hour away from the nearest Taco Bell.  So the only time you would be able to make a run for the border is if you were near a shopping mall.  By the way, the placement of some of the state’s shopping malls is quite the puzzling conundrum.  We will dive into that later.
Imagine the disappointment on the faces of everyone the second time they visited the Taco Bell.  Once they realized that they can come and buy a pack of ten or whatever the hell arrangement it is they serve their tacos in whenever they want, I would imagine for many that the bloom was off the rose.  I bet a good portion of the townsfolk probably realized, “hey, this is just a crappy taco,” and were wondering why in the heck they stood in line for half the day for a disk of flour enveloping a teaspoon of seasoned beef.  Which we would all find out later allegedly contained sawdust.
So yeah, that’s life in a small town.  Just a continuous series of small excitements encompassed by the planning of doing something else that day to rid you of the tedium that you are surrounded by.  It’s not all that bad, really.  You just have to be really creative otherwise you’ll find yourself excited for the opening of a Taco Bell.

Life In A Small Town

Hi folks, going to be trying out a series of articles I am calling the "Life In A Small Town" series.  I hope you all enjoy reading and please feel free to leave your feedback.  In an effort to keep everyone's eyes from crossing, I am going to make this the base page for the series and just post the links to the articles.  Much easier I would say.  At any rate, you should be seeing them show up any second now....

Life In A Small Town #1

Life In A Small Town #2

Life In A Small Town #3

Life In A Small Town #4

Thursday, September 6, 2012

They Say That In The Navy #6

When we left our adventure, we recently bore witness to the bearing of puppies on the floor of a trailer.  Now, we have been left at a hotel adjacent to the processing station.  This is where I first got to see the almost self imposed separation between the branches of the armed forces.  Make no mistake about it, most of the time the various branches of the military hang out with each other exclusively.  It's usually out of convenience.  You are not likely to see many navy folks hanging around an air force base.

We get down to the little restaurant in the hotel and the segregation of the branches was in full effect.  You tried sitting down at the table all the prospective marines were sitting at, you get shot a look as if you had fourteen heads.  So myself and the other recruits destined for the navy sit down at our table and eat what could loosely be considered a hamburger.  I'm relatively sure it was, although I wasn't actually allowed back into the kitchen to properly give it a good ol Gordon Ramsay style inspection.  For all I know, I was eating a car tire.

Anyway, the evening passes with great nervousness.  We were set to have a 4am wakeup call to go to the processing station.  Which of course meant one thing, watching the ridiculous Tom Green special when he was afflicted with testicular cancer.  I don't mean to make light of any serious medical ailment, but the guy was and will always be a jackass.

Four in the morning comes a great deal quicker than any of us likely assumed it would.  Some of us likely spent the majority of the evening trying to figure out the mess we got into and if there was any way out.  At the time, we weren't aware that you sort of could.  However, backing out at the last minute would have precluded any consideration for any government job.  Ever.  If you backed out that close to leaving for basic, you couldn't get a job at a McDonald's on a military base.  That was one of the many prices one would have to pay for backing out so close to actually joining.

The final trip to the processing station was much like the previous one.  Very early in the morning, shitloads of paperwork.  However this time, after getting prodded by doctors and asked to take an oath we are handed plane tickets, sent to the nearest airport and flown to Chicago to be picked up by the fine folks of Recruit Training Command.

This is where I will leave off.  Next time I will likely speak for a moment about the time in between when we landed in Chicago and when the bus came to pick us up to go to basic.  Until then, thanks for reading!

Monday, August 20, 2012

They Say That In The Navy #5

When we last took a brief break from our continuing adventures of one man’s hilarious journey through the trials and tribulations of a stint in the United States Navy, I was raising my hand and taking an oath on only a couple of hours sleep.  Perhaps that was my first mistake.  Making a four year commitment where the end result may have been getting my ass shot at on practically no sleep; fueled only by gas station coffee and a sandwich that had some weird beta test version of Miracle Whip on it.

Alas, we fast forward to about a month or so later.  The day had arrived where I was to be picked up by Rat Bastard and taken to the MEPS station.  My parents dropped me off at the recruiting center about thirty miles away from the house and I get into Rat Bastard’s car for what I presume is going to be another ride to the hotel where they house all of the people getting processed in the next morning.  However, Rat Bastard apparently had other scores to make to meet his quota.  There would be a slight change in plans.

Much to my surprise, Rat Bastard was not going to be joining me on the drive to the MEPS again.  He had more sheep to go herd up.  Instead, I was dropped off at the house of another person that was leaving for the Navy that lived relatively close to the recruiting station.  Which meant I got  to sit with a family of complete strangers as they bared witness to one of the miracles of life.  The birth of a litter of puppies from one of the dogs that they owned.  I can only make educated guesses that they owned more than one dog, no direct affirmations.

First of all, the trailer that the brood lived in had that smell like the inside of a bowling ball’s thumbhole.  Perhaps it was the dog giving birth.  Judging by the d├ęcor of the domicile, I can imagine that the odor that was seeping through my nasal passages had been there long before Biscuit’s water broke.  So I get to have an internal debate with myself over the odor of this house and the potentiality of if it will latch itself to any articles of clothing I am wearing, much like the “B.O.” episode of Seinfeld.

So there I am, mulling over whether I have done the right thing with this life changing decision, and I am staring right at people adding more newspaper under a dog so the afterbirth doesn’t soak through the carpet.  You’d think at that point I would have walked right out of the trailer and caught the first payphone to have my family pick me up.  However, I was full of piss, vinegar and I had at the time signed what I thought was a legally binding contract.  I honestly thought the police would come and get me if I didn’t go to the processing station.  Serious doubts abounding here.  Rat Bastard had long since made himself a ghost, leaving me to be dropped off at the hotel by complete strangers.  You’d think I would have reread the fine print of my contract.  However, once the family designated that it was time to drop I and one of their own off at the hotel, I was more consumed by the words “free buffet” than anything else.

You know, I should have just stayed in the car and reread the contract.  Then again, I wouldn’t have these wonderful little stories to amuse you all with.  Next time, I’ll go more into the brief bit of time at the hotel and the return to the processing station.  Thank you all for reading and if you like, please be sure to spread this stuff around on Facebook and Twitter and the like.  See you next time!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Say That In The Navy #4

Welcome back.  When we last left off, I was talking a little bit about the processing stations.  If I go a particular edition and miss out on some tragically important item, please remember that it's been several years and some of this stuff is harder to remember than I thought.  I thank you all for reading, considering the fact that most of you are probably wondering when some of this rambling is going to get interesting.  Beats me!

The town I grew up in was a rather small one in northeastern Michigan.  For those readers outside of the United States, both of you, it's the section of the American map that looks like a glove.  Nowadays, if you look at Michigan from space you can almost get the image that it is waving at you and saying, "Hi, we're filled with rampant unemployment and unusually high crime rates in our urban areas."  Around the time I joined the Navy, all the wave would have said to you was, "Hi there, we're all down here eating beef jerky, hunting deer and listening to Bob Seger on our cassette players."  Yes, we actually had cassette players back then.

Back to my point.  The day I remember driving down to the processing station was quite an interesting one.  due to the almost remote nature of our little town on the edge of Lake Huron.  It was somewhere around a two and a half hour drive to get to the processing station which I believe was in the state capital.  To be perfectly honest I don't remember.  It was one of the first times in my life that I was going to have to be up before Al Roker and not be directly compensated for it.

You know you're up early in northern Michigan and the only thing open is the one all night gas station in town.  This was a time that I recall where it was still sort of a big deal that you could get coffee that had different flavorings in it.  Yes, cappuccino was a big deal.  Even if it was that powdered junk that you got out of a little machine.  So my recruiter, who will be henceforth referred to as Rat Bastard, and my friend that was on recruiting duty loaded into Rat Bastard's car and made the drive to the MEPS station.  All the while making jokes to my friend about ordering coffee that had a cinnamon flavoring to it.  I should probably publicly apologize for making several jokes about my friend's choice of coffee.  We just plowed through a 18 pack of cinnamon K-Cups and boy are they delicious.

Anyway, we finally get to the processing station sometime around daybreak, or maybe it was the sun just playing tricks on me.  The next several hours was quite a blur going through all of the physical tests and filling out paperwork.  I hadn't even sworn in yet and there was quite a bit of paperwork.  If you ever scratched your head on a Tuesday, there had to have been a form for that.  They want to make sure you aren't going in with anything on your record.  Several hours later, once you've gone through all of the tests and paperwork they bring you into a room where you are sworn into the military.

It should be noted that there's one processing station for all the branches of the armed services.  It's actually quite interesting to see that the separation and camaraderie of the branches starts well before you even step foot into basic training.  You had the Air Force people sticking with the Air Force people and so on.  You also had some people joining exhibiting feelings that they were somehow superior to other branches, long before any of us had done one push-up inside a military installation.  Some of the folks that were there that day would be leaving for basic training immediately after leaving the processing station.  Boot camp would be their next stop.

I was enrolled into something called the Delayed Entry Program(DEP).  DEP was one of those little things where you could delay the time from when you enlisted to when you actually had to show up.  I suppose to get all of your affairs in order before you actually had to report.  I think mine was about a month or so.  The next month was spent trying to get myself into as good a shape as I possibly could and going over my enlistment contract to make sure that I hadn't just been b.s.'d by a recruiter that was merely trying to make his quota.  Ok folks, that's enough for now.  Next stop we will be arriving at the MEPS station again and will actually be leaving for basic training.  hope you all enjoyed and keep spreading the word.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

They Say That In The Navy #3

Wow, we've actually made it to number three.  You know, in between having a terribly short attention span and a readership that hovers near the minimum number of people needed to field a baseball team; I'm surprised that I haven't given up on this one already.  However, there's so many stories to tell.  Most of them horrifically boring, but I will try my best to spice them up.

I might as well begin at the beginning.  Not fair trying to make you folks jump around the list of articles trying to piece this whole story together like watching reruns of Quantum Leap.  So we're going to start off at the start and hope you all don't start dropping like flies and go looking on YouTube for videos of cats looking surprised.

My journey into joining the navy starts the way many around the country are notified they lost a substantial amount of money gambling on a sport they have merely a base knowledge of; being woken up by a phone call early in the morning after a night of sleeping on a couch.  A friend of the family had joined the navy and was home on recruiting duty and figured to tap me as somebody that would enjoy the experience.  We'll get into the enjoying the experience part way later on here.

To make a long story short, a couple of days after the initial phone call I end up going down to the MEPS(Military Entrance Processing Station) a couple of hours away from where we lived at the time.  The MEPS had this odd mixture of airport waiting area, hospital and bus station.  It was technically a military installation, but had droves of civilian folk running around.  There were all these fun little tests that you had to go through, like walking across the room and walking like a duck.

Walking across the room like a duck may not seem like the thing that will keep us safe from the terrorists, but in a pre 9/11 society maybe the most we had to worry about was renegade ducks from the eastern seaboard.  I remember they had this odd little cafeteria that served these pre packaged sandwiches and whatnot.  One of the funnier things that I can recall about the place that I had to go get processed at was this excellent video arcade it had.  Seems kind of odd to have a South Park pinball machine.

Yeah, the pinball machine was kind of an odd one.  Especially given the fact that I don't remember a change machine.  We will have more on the processing station in the next edition.  thanks for reading.

Monday, August 13, 2012

They Say That In the Navy #2

Well, I've made it to the second one.  Hopefully some of you have.  Bouncing around the chronology yet again, I'd like to discuss the nature of coffee and it's purpose in the United States Navy.  Coffee in the navy is a more useful tool to keeping a ship afloat than the fire teams and people driving the ship.  If naval vessels were suddenly deprived of coffee, the whole damned system would collapse.

It's true.  You've got a job where on a lengthy deployment there can be thousands of people out to sea on just one vessel.  Many of us getting up at odd hours for watches and things like that.  Look at it this way.  You know when you hear that noise at three in the morning and you get up and look outside to see if it was just the wind, a badger going through your garbage, or some guy breaking into the neighbor's car?  Military folks have to power through that same feeling and then immediately go operate a multi-million dollar piece of equipment.  Or for those that get assigned lookout watch, stand there and point out other things in the water. Which can be just as rough of a job as maneuvering a ship, but I digress.

Coffee.  The lifeblood of the American naval fleet.  Like a great many things that we received on board, it would come to us during underway replenishments in giant containers that would make the folks at Sam's Club and Costco cower in fear.  I still have a problem to this day with a toe on my right foot from dropping a can of spiced ham or something like that on my foot.  Must have been the size of a bowling ball.  Sailors are first introduced to the concept of Navy coffee when we are at our tech schools.  It's usually cold, been sitting there for several hours and there's no cream or sugar to be seen.  So you drink it without any embellishment whatsoever.  This coffee isn't designed to warm you up.  It's designed to wake you up!  So you trudge through this dark, muddy water and miraculously the caffeine hits you.  By the way, don't even ask about decaf.  I was in the navy for four years and do not think I once saw decaf served on or in a government installation.  My lack of knowledge of decaf coffee by the way, continues to some time ago when my wife and I purchased a Keurig machine and one of the sample packs we got with it had a small pack of decaf K-Cups.  Much to my surprise drinking the decaf didn't turn me into a reverse vampire.

However, when you get to your duty station the coffee situation changes drastically.  You, yes you, can actually drink it while it still has some degree of warmth to it!  And you can put cream and sugar in it to get that USDA "Approved For Human Consumption" taste out of your mouth!  The cream and sugar in this situation really helps out.  On its own, even properly heated Navy coffee can be a beast that's quite formidable to contend with.  Remember, this isn't like brewing a pot at home or even at the office.  Most times, this stuff is brewed in obnoxiously large pots, and they don't make any new coffee until the last of the old stuff is gone.  So during certain times of the day, you can have coffee slow cooking for several hours until it's essentially a thin paste.  So it's not designed to taste good, however I think that was one of the things that was explicitly stated on the enlistment contract.

Well, that's all for now.  Hope you all enjoyed and be sure to spread this around however you can.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

They Say That In The Navy #1

After a brief sabbatical from writing a series that was only three editions into production, some of which included being loaded into a contraption that shot me three hundred feet into the air; we are back.  I'm going to bounce around quite a bit here.  Seeing as how approximately six and a half people read this, I think I can bounce around on the chronology without very many people noticing anything happened at all.  So what's on my mind right now?

We had an absolute bitch of a thunderstorm this morning.  Woke up about nine this morning to feed the cat, which had been pawing at me for several minutes to wake up.  I presume that it thought I had passed throughout the night or something.  That's actually the amazing thing about cats if you ask me, they are very good time keepers.  If you need to get up by a certain hour, don't bother with an alarm clock.  Just get a cat.  Start feeding it at eight in the morning.  Do it for a really long time.  The one day you decide to sleep past eight, your cat will come into your bedroom and paw at the blanket as if it is trying to say, "Hey, I can't open the damned can myself!"  allowing you to naturally wake up without the jarring sensation of an alarm clock.

Which brings me to alarm clocks.  When I was in the military, there was this guy named Kurtz.  Yep, just like Brando's character from Apocalypse Now.  Only the Kurtz I was familiar with at the time seemed to be a little less mentally stable.  Put it to you this way.  You know those people that sit and watch the five hour long Nyan Cat videos on YouTube all the way through without a break?  Double that and you have a smidgen of what Kurtz was like.  If I remember correctly, the guy had TWO copies of every album the Insane Clown Possee had put out to date.  When I asked him about this, he explained that the reasoning was what if we were out to sea and he dropped one of them in the water.  As crazy as it may sounds, I admire his planning.  Even if the plan was to stockpile ICP CD's in case of emergency.

Anyway, the fellow had this unique obsession for being on time that rivaled being strange for the military.  One time, I had drawn midwatch or something like that and asked Kurtz, who was on the previous watch to wake me up so I could check in on time.  Now, instead of waking me up by lightly tapping me on the shoulder, or going "Dan, wake up"  I am awoken by this remarkably loud constant beep directly in my ear.  This one incident is probably the reason I can't hear the tv and people talking at the same time to this day.  I wake up rather violently and hit my head on the top of the bunk then look over and see his maniacal looking face.

Even when he was in a down mood, Kurtz always had this look about him as if he had consumed too many Joker products.  Anyway, I glance down to see him holding this purple box.  It was a trucker alarm clock.  It had to actual clock to speak of, just a countdown timer.  Which begs the question, did he just hit the button to activate a noise that would have woken the dead; or did he set the timer and stand there for the entire time?

That's all for now folks.  Next time I'll start discussing some of the wonders that make up basic training, or the time I knocked Oliver North into a wall.  You guys can go on the FaceBook and decide.

The Dan Experiment On Facebook

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Hi there folks.  During our family's recent trip to Wildwood, NJ I was asked by my wife to go on the SpringShot with a friend of our son's so he wouldn't have to ride in the contraption by himself.  Being the nice fellow I am, I agreed.  Here is the video from inside the ride, and what it looked like from the ground.  Enjoy!

From the Ground

And here is inside the ride itself..