Haystack Approach 
Monday, October 30, 2006, 10:58 AM
Someone gives you tasking to locate obscure information that likely isn't very important, or will be more easily obtained at a later date. You delay be shoveling vast quantities of hay in their direction, implying that the needle they are looking for is "easily" located in the information you have "painstakingly" gathered for them. This is especially effective on people who do not understand the sheer volume of semi-relevant information that can obtained via a simple google search. Proper routing and packaging of information is essential in the Haystack Approach -- make sure to package the "hay" in a professional manner, and if possible route the information through one or more persons before it reaches the original tasker. Since the intermediaries were not all tasked with this information they do have a stake in it and will likely just push the information up, both giving you a time buffer ("oh yeah, i'm on that, it's being routed to you") and adding legitimacy to your hay.
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Collective Moral Responsibility 
Wednesday, October 25, 2006, 03:32 PM
Here's a question. Let's say 12 to 18 months from now we have one of two options in Iraq:
1) Institute a one time draft and raise active duty strength to the point where we can have twice as many boots on the ground as we do now; or
2) Withdraw from the country with the full knowledge as a direct result of our actions it will be pluged into decades of civil war that will cost tens of thousands of lives.

What it comes down to is do we, as Americans, have a moral responsibility to fix errors our country has made. Or, in even broader language, when you allow someone to make a mistake in your name, do you still have the responsibility to clean it up?
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The Departed 
Friday, October 20, 2006, 02:31 PM
I watched The Departed the other day, an excellent film that is a remake of a Hong Kong blockbuster titled Infernal Affairs. I had previously seen Infernal Affairs and it was a pleasant surprise to see how closely The Departed tracked the original script. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I definitely recognized several conversations that were lifted directly from the Hong Kong original.

WARNING: Plot spoiler to follow
Despite the clearly demonstrated desire to stay true to the highly successful original, there were certain plot modifications made with an American audience in mind. Among them is the fate of Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon's character) at the end of the movie. Other than adding a little additional color, and brief moments of humor, the desire for some "positive" closure appears to be the sole reason for the inclusion of Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg's character), a character who was not in the original movie.

What really struck me towards the end of the film was the necessity of Billy Costigan's (Leonardo DiCaprio) death. I'm not a Leonardo DiCaprio fan, but I was quite surprised and impressed with how convincingly he played his character. There was a certain point where I realized that in the absence of some cheap trick by the scriptwriter, there was no way for Costigan to live happily ever after. The closest they could have come to a Hollywood ending would have been to have Dignam come in and somehow vouch for Costigan; fortunately it was not with this in mind that he was included in the script.

The one thing this remake was unable to capture was the strong father-son relationship between Costigan and Capt. Queenan. That relationship added a lot to Infernal Affairs and made the latter's death all the more affecting.
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Guardian 
Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 04:38 PM
Saw The Guardian last Friday. In the final scene, Ashton Kutcher's shirt is missing pockets and epaulets.
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Conversation 
Friday, September 29, 2006, 09:48 AM
You know those dates you go on where everything is pleasant, there are no awkward silences, and yet you quickly realize that there's not going to be a second date? It's the sort of "I'm bored, she's bored, why are we still here?" I just wasted my evening on one of those last night.

From some reason I can never bring myself to simply eat quickly and say, "let's get out of here." Maybe I think that by dragging out the boredom we'll somehow hit upon a conversational spark that will resuscitate the date. So I did my best to keep the conversation going, to draw information out of her and encourage her to talk, to find something interesting or funny to say. Unforunatley, I was too tired and I have difficulty with humor when I'm tired. At the end of the meal I dutifully paid, ignoring her annoyingly feeble reach for her wallet. I don't mind the fact that women expect men to approach them and talk to them, or that we're always the ones who make the phone call. However, in a day and age where men and women largely earn the same amount of money, I expect more than a simple half-hearted attempt to pay -- especially from someone who is 3/8 Asian. That's not to say that I would ever let a woman pay for a first date, but the lack gives the impression that this is someone who expects her man to pay for everything.

Afterwards, I dragged things out by suggesting we go to a bar, at which point she seemed to stop trying to hide that she was bored. The worst part was that since I traded my brother my truck for a 10-speed bike I could offer her a ride home -- I had to say, "well, this is my bus stop. Nice seeing you." Very classy.
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Yosemite 
Monday, September 11, 2006, 09:07 AM
I'm finally back in the Bay Area, and what better way to settle into a three month inport (after a 2 month vacation in San Diego) than to take a weekend trip to Yosemite? For quite some time now I've been wanting to visit Yosemite again. Yosemite is one of my favorite places to visit -- I used to go frequently with my family as well as with school groups, but it's been at least six years since my last visit.

There are pictures, which I will post once I have them.
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Numb 
Sunday, August 27, 2006, 10:41 PM
Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb


Sometimes becoming numb is the best thing you can hope for.
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Coast Guard Assists in Capture of Mexican Drug Lord 
Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 05:51 PM
The Coast Guard has assisted in the capture of the leader of one of Mexico's largest drug cartels. From what I understand, the DEA somehow received a tip that Francisco Javier Arellano Felix was going to be fishing off the coast of the Mexican resort town of La Paz. The Coast Guard moved in and interdicted his vessel 15 miles off the Coast, placing him three miles within international waters. My only regret is that he wasn't captured by the Coast Guard further away from the United States. Detainees generally sleep together with no privacy in the relative discomfort of the helo hanger on the hard steel deck with a steady diet of beans and rice.

EDIT: Let me just clarify that I'm not a fan to prisoner mistreatment. In fact, I believe that our detainees are actually given matresses, and we only give them beans and rice because if we give them regular ship food it makes them vomit. I just like the idea of a man who has lived in relative comfort, and who has had U. S. Law Enforcement Agents tortured to death, experiencing a little discomfort.
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Stability 
Tuesday, August 1, 2006, 10:49 AM
I'm at DCA school right now and we're doing a unit on stability and buoyancy. It consists mostly of a little theory and some equations that require basic algeabra to solve. About a third of the class considers this the easiest section so far because the equations are simplisitic and the theory isn't that difficult. The other half of the class is senior enlisted who haven't done math since high school, which in many cases was as long as 20 years ago. Since most of my academic experiences have been with similarly educated people, it's quite an experience.
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Hotel Versus Barracks 
Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 12:08 PM
Much to my disappointment, the combined bachelor housing in San Diego may be out of rooms. If this terrible event occurs, I may be forced to stay in a hotel room on the government's dime. Life's tough.

In other news, I just got word that I'm being made Assistant Engineering Officer (AEO). It's a nice sounding position -- being the #2 guy in a 50 man department -- but it's not a job I was looking for. I enjoyed managing my eight man shop, especially getting to know the electricians. This is all the result of a very slick plot woven by George Hall.

It all started when I was in the Wardroom sipping coffee like a good officer, enjoying the fruits of the $1500 espresso machine I convinced the ship to purchase. George commented on how I was using the AEO cup. All of our cups have our job title on them, so I looked down to check, and sure enough my cup said "ELEC" for "Electrical Officer." I told George that I wasn't using the AEO cup. He responded that I should, because I was already AEO. "George, I'm not AEO," I responded.

Later that day I went down to stand watch in the engine room where my Chief, Alan Gieb, was breaking in under me. "Sir, are you still going to be our division officer now that you're AEO?"
"Chief, I'm not AEO," I responded.
"Of course you're AEO," Senior Chief Engle interjected. "Everyone knows you're AEO."

Fast forward a couple weeks to the present day where I'm here on land, unable to defend myself to my new boss. I get this email from George:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA....the new command assignment list is coming out soon...guess who the AEO is.

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