So, where to begin... Yes, I made second class. Now ET2 (that's E-5 pay-grade). Not bad for being just shy of my 2.5 year mark. I got to look at my profile sheet and I scored better than 93% of the people who took the test. Three of the four people in my division up for the advancement made it.
The thing that angered me about this however, is that the one guy who did not make it; is the one whom I feel most deserved to make it. I think I was runner up for being deserving of the promotion; but the guy that I think deserved it most did not make it. He missed it by .66 of a point. He had an admirals letter (worth 2 points) that did not get counted so they are routing the paperwork to see if they can get it for him and I hope they do. He deserves it. More than I do, I think.
This underway was a lot of fun. I managed to steel A-Gang's two most prized possessions - their screw (a propeller-like engraving that sits in the deck of their space - the symbol of their rate), and their Mary Jane. Mary Jane is a name plate that sits on top of the diesel motor. Submarines have a tradition of naming their diesel engine. Ours is "Mary Jane", the Nebraska's is "Big Red".
Anyways, I (with some help from my division in the planning, and concealment phases) stole both these items. Both heists were beautiful - went down without any hitches and both were seized in under ten seconds.
This is particularly awesome because A-Gangers are a particularly proud breed. The general consensus is that "nobody messes with A-Gang". If you know me - you know that I have zero tolerance for the thug mentality or anything resembling it. So I had to teach A-Gang a lesson.
The deal is that you return any items you stole from another division on Half-way night. Its another little submarine tradition - you don't take anything functional, nothing that belongs to another person - just things that belong to a division that serve no mission oriented purpose. Both of the things i took were merely decoration. Come half-way night, my division had devised a plan for returning these items to A-Gang. First, we donated the screw (part of it) to the Recreation Committee to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Whoever bought it knows that they have to give it back to A-Gang but they want to do it to settle the score. A-Gang started throwing a huge FIT about this because they didn't know who had their stuff. Anyways - it sold for 60 bucks.
To return the Mary Jane sign - we had also stolen the chain from the Missile Techs door. One of our guys used the chain, to hold the Mary Jane sign like a giant medallion. He walked around the boat like that until someone realized what was up and he got clobbered by about 6 angry A-Gangers. All in good fun. We have to keep ourselves occupied.
Presently; I am limping around due to having overworked my calves. I bought some Vibrams. They are a shoe that is more like a glove for your foot. They are made for running because contrary to the popular design for shoes - humans were not meant to land on their heels while walking or running. I took these things out for a spin. Generally speaking, even when I am out of shape I am capable of running 3-4 miles with no real problems, and at a decent enough speed. Well, not with these bad boys on... They totally change the way you run, MUCH less shock on your knees and back. But your calves have to work WAY harder than ever before. I made it about a mile in these before i decided i had to stop. My calves are now SHOT. I have been limping for the past two days waiting for them to heal up.
I highly recommend these shoes - but take it easy at first. They are such a great workout.
Anyhoozle. I arrived to find that the two computers I had left off for the two months I was away were broken and the two computers I had left on were perfectly fine. Lesson learned (something I have generally stood by) don't turn computers off! I have never been a believer in shutting them down and restarting them all the time anyways - it's actually harder on their hardware to go off and on all the time - they last longer if they just stay on. I have fixed one of them, I have not done any troubleshooting on the other.
I suppose that's about all I have for now. I would like to say one last thing though. I have the most amazing, wonderful wife I could ever ask for. She has been very supportive of me (always) this underway and it means the world to me. She is everything I could ever hope for, but better because she is the person she is.
So here's to you, Ducky. Thank you for all you have done, I appreciate everything you are, and all that you do. It really is quite amazing! Love you!