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My Favorite Squids

Well.

You all may have noticed a distinct upturn in readership as a result of my last post (I certainly did. I had to turn the Word Press notifications off on my phone after the torrent of Navy haters, Navy good sports, and Army supporters leaving comments woke me up in the middle of the night. And two hours before I had to get up for PT, too; somebody call the waaaambulance for me, please.)

But letting a few rude middies ruin it for the rest of them is like letting a couple of burnt kernels ruin an otherwise delicious bag of popcorn (I don’t know why the popcorn analogy. Probably because we’re fresh out of the Christmas movie season but I could still go for some theater-popped goodness covered in butter) and we can’t have that.

Several people lamented the way I poked fun at Navy’s mascot, uniforms, traditions, etc. blah blah blah. Aren’t we all supposed to be on the same team??? How can we defeat the terrorists if an Army officer makes fun of the Navy football team??? How dare you drink at a football game as a 24-year-old officer off duty! I’m a former Naval officer and graduate of the Naval Academy – but I can’t go to bed now, honey; someone on the Internet is WRONG!

I get it. We are all on the same team when it comes to being proud members of America’s armed forces. But unless we strike up a friendly game of football with Team Bin Laden or the Saddam Squad and Navy is playing them, I am going to root against Navy football. I just am. I want Navy to lose frequently, and to Army, always. Forever and ever, the end.

But, having said that, there are several former midshipmen and current members of the Navy of whom I am rather fond. Here are the ones topping the charts:

LYZZY

This lovely woman is Lyzzy, USNA Class of 2010. The Lord gave her a beautiful singing voice, luscious blonde locks, and the good sense to cross-commission into the Army. She actually did it since HUMINT wasn’t open to females in the Marine Corps at the time and that was what she wanted to pursue. She spent her first deployment as a source analyst working solely with human intelligence personnel.

Lyzzy was in Glee Club at West Point her first semester of her junior year while I was a plebe (freshman). She lived in the same building I did, and if I ever ran into her in the hallways she’d talk to me like a real person instead of the pond scum that plebes really are at West Point, and for that I adored her.

Did I mention she’s amazing?

And, per her request: “Ok! I hate to say it, but please include that I still love my Navy roots and will always cheer for Navy…no matter how sad it makes my husband and friends.” (Lyzzy married a West Point grad. Smart lady.)

MATT

Matt was an semester exchange from Navy who was in my company when we were both first semester juniors. He lived one floor below me and was actually Manfriend’s squad leader that semester. Manfriend benefitted from Matt’s leadership skillz, and I benefitted from his friendship. We sat at the same lunch and dinner table and he made life more bearable on crappy days.

Matt is currently being a badass as the Anti Submarine Warfare officer on a destroyer based out of Japan. He also told me he was a boarding officer onboard, which was “semi-interesting.” Actually, it’s really interesting. I had to look it up because he didn’t explain what it meant but one definition I found said it was “a naval officer detailed to board an incoming ship to provide local information (as to the ceremonies or honors expected, uniforms required, or facilities available).” Basically an ambassador of land to those at sea/pretty freaking cool.

Matt’s pretty easy to get along with. He even told me he did “not mind one bit to be one of your favorite squids,” which I thought was quite generous.

MELANIE

Melanie was another semester exchange middie that I met when she was in Glee Club the first semester of my sophomore year. Sometimes she gets these really adorably uncontrollable hiccups, which were only minorly disruptive when we were singing warm-up scales, but infinitely entertaining nonetheless. Last year Melly was the accompanist for the Naval Academy Glee Club when they sang for George Bush Senior.

She gets some pretty sweet close-up action in THIS video at 1:14 of the Glee Club singing at West Point on Veteran’s Day a few years ago.

Aaaand this is her with Patrick Stewart. (That sound was me collapsing into a heap of jealousy on the floor.)

BRANDON

I knew Brandon in high school, when we did Civil War reenacting together (yes, that is a real thing; yes, I participated; see, it happened:

Get over it). We had super big crushes on each other, but I went to West Point and he enlisted in the Navy and now he’s married and I’m engaged and so that ship has sailed (ha, ha). When I asked if I could include him in my blog entry he said of course, and as for the hate mail, well: “See Kelley? That’s what happens when Army loses and you all don’t let it go right away, hah!”

Brandon is now a Navy Corpsman, Petty Officer 3rd Class. Apparently in the Navy, they use their jobs as ranks, so he’s actually a Hospitalman 3rd Class (HM3). This means he deals with anything medical. They work in hospitals, on ships, and can be attached to the Marine Corps as medical attaches. Brandon currently works as a Navy Psychiatric Technician. When I asked for more details he told me to look up Navy Corpsman on Wikipedia. So much for interviewing and going straight to the source.

This is him and his wife, who’s also in the Navy:

Brandon is actually Canadian, born and bred, but he’s a smart Canadian, which is why he lives in America. He asked me to mention that he is “extraordinarily proud to be serving in the United States Armed Forces and to be serving her people.” Happy to have him aboard, eh?

HUNTER

I love this picture because this is how we all felt at graduation but only a few people actually showed it so clearly.

Hunter was a semester exchange student from Navy in the second semester of his junior year and my senior year. He was in the elective I took with a bunch of my friends, Film and Film Theory.

That class was delightful. We were a bunch of burnt out seniors ready to get the hell out of West Point with our undergrad degrees and commissions in hand, so we thought we’d watch a few movies and overwhelm the class with our senioritis superiority.

We were mistaken. The focus of the class turned out to be foreign films, so instead of just analyzing and discussing cinematography, camera angles, and soundtracks, we had to read the whole movie in the subtitles. I was a very attentive student; during one film “lab” when we watched the Kurdish war film “Turtles Can Fly” (no they can’t, and spoiler alert: everyone dies) I took some notes, read the movie synopsis online, rearranged my kingdom in Castleville, and filed my taxes. (Sorry, COL Nelson. I really did learn things, I promise.)

Anyway, Hunter was one of the few males in a predominantly female class (a definite rarity at the service academies). He later admitted to us when we were celebrating our end-of-the-semester project in a local bar that we had contradicted what he had heard about West Point girls (i.e., we’re all ugly). He then proceeded to accurately classify each of us as not-a-bitch, a bitch, and sometimes-a-bitch. (I was sometimes-a-bitch, in case you were wondering, and mostly due to my pretentious use of academic jargon in class.) His honesty about our personalities, his admittance that there were actually five attractive West Point female cadets in a single class hour, and his excellent sense of humor has won him a place on this list.

Hunter studied English (literature and poetry) at Annapolis and completed his senior thesis on Irish poet W.B. Yeats. He branched into the Marine Corps out of the Naval Academy instead of opting for a specific branch in the Navy. He’s currently attending The Basic School (TBS), which is similar to the Army’s basic officer leader course for the Infantry (IBOLC). “All officers go because every Marine is grounded in basic infantry skills,” Hunter explained. His course at Quantico, VA lasts six months. While at TBS, Marines compete for their specific job within the Marines. Hunter was just assigned as a Comptroller (Finance) and will report to his unit after he completes his finance-specific training.

Hunter loves America and the ladies of COL Nelson’s Film and Film Theory Class in Spring 2012 love Hunter.

**

Honorable mentions go to Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as sailors:

‘Cause yay.

Happy 2014, everyone! Stay tuned for the story of how I recently became affianced to Manfriend and also read 100 books in 2013. Adventures abound.

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9 Comments

January 8, 2014 · 6:36 pm

In Which I Am Asked a Lot of Silly Questions

I ask a lot of really stupid questions at work. My knowledge of cars is pretty much limited to checking the air pressure on my tires, checking my oil, and laboriously changing a tire. But now I work in a motor pool that services a lot of big trucks, so I am routinely stumped by the shop talk that surrounds me. (True story: I bought a copy of “Auto Repair for Dummies” but it is so insanely boring that I have only read like two chapters.) Luckily, ridiculous questions are not exclusive to hapless, confused butter bars.

This week, I bring you: SILLY QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE HAVE RECENTLY ASKED ME.

“Why do you need another bookshelf?”

My own father had the audacity to ask me this when I sent him a picture of a bookshelf that I was looking into buying. I own over 500 books and plan on acquiring many, many more. Books belong on a shelf, on a pedestal, or in my hand. Not in storage. I need ALL the bookshelves so that I may properly display/pay homage to/systematically arrange my collection. I still can’t believe my dad asked me this question. IT’S LIKE HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW ME.

“Are you going to finish that?”

If it’s bread, chocolate, or pizza, why are you even asking? Look at me. These hips don’t lie—of COURSE I am going to finish what I am eating.

“Why are you speaking in a British accent?”

Well, clearly it is to personally irritate you and make your day a little less pleasant. No! I shall tell you why:

          Because British accents are awesome.

          Because now I sound like a resident of Downton Abbey/a student at Hogwarts/a character in a Jane Austen novel.

          And if neither of those works for you: because I’m honoring my heritage. How about that? Now go away before I honor my Native American heritage and scalp you or something.

“Ma’am, do you know how to spell ‘deterioration’?”

Oh you poor, lost little lamb, you sad young man filling out that form. OF COURSE I know how to spell “deterioration”! Better question is why you DON’T know how to spell it…or look it up on your phone…but we’ll move past that and I will spell it for you, because it will probably be the most useful thing I will contribute to America this morning.

“Do you want to come to this week’s training meeting?”

Three questions in return:

  1. Will it be two and a half hours long like last week?
  2. Are there more than fifty slides in the slide deck?
  3. Could I get a shot with a gajillion-gauge needle or bathe in the Arctic instead? Because that would probably be less agonizing.

“Ma’am, are you married?”

This question has confused me on several occasions. Do some people just not wear any kind of band? Because frankly I think this is a stupid question. I have a Manfriend. He is tall, dark and handsome and really good at physics but pretends to be a dumb jock. This basically means we’re perfect for each other because I can never remember if it’s centripetal or centrifugal force that isn’t a real thing and I “catch” objects tossed to me by letting them bounce off my body and then picking them up off the floor.

But despite this felicitous boyfriend/girlfriend relationship in which we are gleefully involved, I am not, in fact, wifed up at this time.

So here’s my confusion. This is what my left hand looks like at work:

CurrentLeftHand

This is what my left hand will look like at work after I am married/engaged to be so:

FutureLeftHand

Any questions? (Manfriend, if you’re reading this, please note that the ring is saying, “bling bling!” but if the ring can sing a song as well as declare its superiority over other rings, that’d be cool too.)

“Want a donut?”

Well hello there, unnaturally skinny NCO. Thank you for noticing that it is 10:30 and my blood sugar has just plummeted into Dante’s Third Circle of Hell. There is nothing that sounds more appetizing right now than a piece of bread fried and smothered in chocolate deliciousness. One donut? Actually, I would like about nine (dozen). Unfortunately I cannot partake as my body is currently acting like the United States government in a financial crisis: bloated and still gorging. Therefore I must politely decline your offer of a donut as it is bathing suit season and my tummy is pleasantly squishy and not prepared for its debut. Also, you are Satan. Stop eating that donut in front of me.

“Hey ma’am, wanna go for a run? Show us what you got?”

First of all, I haven’t run without pain in almost two years because of a femoral stress fracture. Before that, I ran slowly. Very slowly. “Shuffled” would probably be a more accurate description, if you’re feeling generous, “trudged,” if you’re not. Second of all, what I’ve got is big hips and stocky legs. My nickname as a toddler was “Dozer.” (Kid you not; ask my parents.) I hate when lean guys with skinny legs ask you if you want to run. Or when dudes whose upper halves are disproportionate to their lower halves aggressively ask you what you bench (P.S. friends don’t let friends skip leg day. Remember that.). You don’t see me running around (colloquially speaking, of course; running is against my religion now) challenging people to sit-up contests all the time. I am a beast at sit-ups. Know why? Low center of gravity. But you don’t see me rubbing it in people’s faces all the time! Know what I want to say when people ask me if I want to go for a run?

This:

Doc

“Wanna come down to the shop and play with the welding equipment?”

This is a silly question because OF COURSE I want to play with the welding equipment! It’s loud and dangerous and I’m signed for it, so what the hell, right? BRB, gotta get my coveralls.

18 Comments

April 3, 2013 · 5:23 pm