Monstrous Black Can

In the great cornucopia of energy drinks that are available on the market there is one that outshines all of the rest: Monster. This elixir comes in a tall, black can and can be found well-stocked in every ship’s store throughout the United States Navy. It’s quickly replacing coffee as the go-to drink of choice for the haggard Boatswain’s Mate or Electrician’s Mate running on two hours of sleep and looking ahead at the seemingly insurmountable six-hour-long watch only thirty minutes away. But hand that same Sailor a can of Monster and watch the magic change wash over him.

As soon as he pops the tab you can smell the fruity, metallic liquid sloshing and fizzing in the can. Then he takes a hearty slug and as soon as this manna from heaven touches his lips his back straightens, his eyes light up, and the rush of energy shoots from his mouth to the very tips of his fingers and toes like a lightening bolt striking a pine tree. Moments later that aluminum can will be empty, ready to be repurposed into a receptacle for dip spit (See smokeless tobacco). But what about the Sailor? Well that Sailor will be ready to tackle the world. That very Electrician’s Mate will have so much excess energy he’ll be ready to stand watch and then go fix every motor-operated valve in the bilge of Auxiliary Machinery Room 3.

But as wonderful as this drink may be, and as tasty as it is the morning after standing the reveille watch, I’m not sure how beneficial the regular consumption of it is. Once, while finishing a final project in college, I drank three of these lovely concoctions in the span of an hour. They allowed me to finish my project but I felt as though my heart was going to explode through my chest. Also, I’ve watched friends and colleagues drink Monsters throughout the day and then tremor and jitter uncontrollably for hours. Not to mention that if you find a spare hour or two to sleep during your busy SWO day, these bad boys will nix that idea fast, quick, and in a hurry.

So, with all data available to me, I decided to ween myself off of Monsters and find another source for my caffeine (Lapsang souchong seems to work pretty well). It’s a bit rough on the midwatch but it’s manageable. At least I don’t have to worry about spontaneous cardiac arrest.

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What Happens In Thailand. . .

Foreign Liberty: Nothing Beats It

If you’ve spent any time around the Navy or Sailors you’ve probably heard unbelievable stories about the wondrous things that can be found in the Far East. In Hong Kong you can find yourself a personal tailor and have an entire bespoke wardroom made for you for pennies on the dollar. In Singapore you can find out just why they call it a “Singapore Sling”. In the Philippines you can enjoy the many multifaceted joys of Filipino gourmet cooking. But with all of the joys awaiting you in the Orient, there’s one place that is only talked about after the drinks start flowing and that’s Thailand. In the interests of keeping the blog out of the gutter and far away from the censors, I’ll refrain from retelling some of the stories I’ve been told of adventures in places like Phuket and Bangkok. Just remember, if ever you invite your friends from a West Pac deployment to your retirement, ensure that they don’t tell stories of the good times you had.

I’m honestly surprised that something like that doesn’t happen more often. Anyway, I just thought I’d share some humor on this glorious Tuesday.

The Fire of a Thousand Suns

A sailor is sprayed in the face with liquid fire.

This is how it begins.

Back in April, I had to undergo an armed sentry course in order to be qualified to carry a weapon while on duty. I was also taught how to properly use the collapsible baton and OC spray. In order to be certified on the use of each, I needed to pass through the trial by fire that is being sprayed in the face with OC spray.

Now, in order to understand just how bad this is you must first understand what exactly OC spray is. “OC” stands for “Oleoresin Capsicum,” which is an oily resin derived from the fruit of hot peppers and chilis. In other words, this is what is commonly referred to as pepper spray, the same stuff that the police use in order to quell riots, brawls, lawlessness, and general ruckuses. This spray contains a high concentration of capsaicin, the chemical that makes spicy foods muy caliente. Because of that, it makes an excellent less-than-lethal weapon to be used in crowd control, subduing a violently resistant bad guy, and generally getting people to do what you want them to do. And now dear reader, you may ask “Well, just how does it do that?”

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Misadventure on the Pedlar, Part Uno

This is a story of the best beer I’ve ever had. Like most of my stories, it involves me thinking I was invincible and can withstand anything life throws at me. As is the usual case, I was reminded exactly where the limits of my mortality actually exist.

This particular story takes place on the Pedlar River nestled within George Washington National Forest. GW National Forest is itself settled in amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western Virginia, about an hour or so from Lexington. Every Spring, the Corps of Cadets runs an exercise designed to test the 4th Classmen on their fieldcraft, namely skills such as land navigation, shelter building, and wilderness survival. The exercise covers a roughly twenty mile course of arduous terrain in some of the most beautiful country Virginia has to offer.

I participated in the aptly-named 4th Class FTX (Field Training Exercise) each year of my cadetship. It was a wonderful way to break up the monotony of the Institute Experience and also recharge my batteries by getting away from the hustling weariness of modern life. Unfortunately, George Washington National Forest tried to kill me every single year.

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For Strength!

ObamaGuinness

Obama revisits his Irish roots – The Globe and Mail.

While I am a man that has not met a beer that I didn’t like; it appears that my Commander-in-Chief is not. Whether it be a stout, a lager, a pilsner, an ale, a porter, or a member of any of hops and barley family, I will drink it. My criteria for a good beer being that it must 1) be colder than room temperature and 2) be affordable; beyond that I’m an easy man to please. ‘Tis true though that the Guin’ is an acquired taste; but this picture still causes me to chuckle.

While the president’s and my own choices in malty refreshment might differ, I did like his one comment printed below:

“My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas.”

I must offer a tip of my hat to a fellow Guinness and Aviation enthusiast: Neptunus Lex.

Hump-Day Humor

It’s the middle of the week, and if your week has been anything like mine, you’re ready for the weekend. So, to help get you through, here’s a humorous little video:




Oh, how I wish candles weren’t a prohibited item in Barracks. My room could definitely use a little pigskin smell.