Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My wife (from here on out known as Miss Piggy) and I were talking the other day.  I can't remember exactly what she said, so I'll make up the words, but here's about how the conversation started:
Miss Piggy: Women can't simultaneously expect more privileges without also having more responsibilities.
Me: That's funny you think that.
MP: How's that funny?
M: Ok, not funny, surprising.

Her Grandfather was a good man, who had lots of kids with a beast of a woman, who left him many, many years ago.  That woman never really wanted kids, but she took them anyways, and remarried with a despicable man.  Somewhere along the way she turned into a raging alcoholic.  My wife's mother was one of those children, who had an excellent positive male example early in life, and a negative male and female example on how to raise children later in life.  She grew up, became a major slut, espoused many feminist ideals, eventually settled down with a timid (and divorced and broken) man, and had a few kids.  Somewhere along the way she became a raging alcoholic, brutally beating some of her kids along the way.  Many of her own siblings became alcoholics.  One of her daughters grew up, became an alcholic, then cleaned up, then became a lesbian.  One of her sons grew up timid and anti-social, married an absolute beast of a woman.  And the other one grew up and met me.
Notice any patterns? 

So I married the decent one.  Good decision on my part? Undecided, but probably yes.  She decided long ago that she wasn't going to play the victim card.  But growing up with nothing but negative examples, getting beaten on a regular basis, doesn't lend well to forging healthy relationships in your adult life.  She is an abberration, in that she is self-aware enough to have recognized the un-healthy relationships of her past.  Grew up in a liberal bastion on the left-coast but somehow has very Conservative ideals.  Grew up in a mostly agnostic household, but held herself to Christian ideals from a young age, and became a Christian in her teens. 

In my teens I had very mature (IMO) opinions on dating.  One of them was to never date someone I wouldn't marry.  The other was to always look at the condition of your girl's mom, because that's how your girl will look in 25 years.  My first serious girlfriend's mom was a shrew, she swore up and down she'd never turn out like her.  We reconnected years later, turns out she was wrong.  Glad I dodged that bullet.

MP is not without her faults.  We've certainly had rough spots, and not all of those are entirely her fault.  Especially considering that I've failed my fair share of fitness tests*, which I consider to be my fault (failure at being Alpha).  But I like to think that she's becoming a better person all the time.  And as I improve my Game, I become a better husband, and she becomes a better wife.

MP doesn't browse the internet too often.  I know she has read some of the manosphere sites if I haven't closed them out, but she doesn't go seeking them.  This is why I found what she said at the top of the page so surprising.  She came from an extended family of failures, but somehow she managed to be aware enough of all the crap happening all around her, pulled herself out of it, and turned out to be a decent person.

*I actually prefer the term "$#!t test", but I'm trying to keep this family friendly.

Traffic, etc

I've been posting slightly more than usual on others' blogs, and I've noticed my site count has gotten a few hits.  No comments, but hits will eventually lead to comments.  I am well aware that I currently have no real content, but I don't want to drive away potential future readers, so I'm going to have to find something to post about.  There have been a few topics that I thought were great, but then I actually started writing and ended up scrapping it all.

A few weeks back, I stumbled upon this post.

Writing forces you to organize your thoughts
If you think you really understand something, if you think you really get it, try writing a 1000 word blog post explaining it to an audience. I get about ten ideas per day for blog posts that feel fully-formed in my head, just waiting to be spat out in a 90-wpm blur. But I don’t update 10x per day.
Writing Freedom Twenty-Five has forced me to confront the reality that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Writing about something exposes gaps in your knowledge. More importantly, it forces you to address those gaps before you write something that makes you look like an idiot.
Writing forces you to live consciously
Writing a blog forces you to try interesting things, read new books, and think about the world in new ways. Otherwise, what the hell are you going to write about?
And you have to do more than just write to reap this benefit – you have to actually submit your work to forums of smart, critical readers, who will tear you a new one if you try to pass some bullshit onto them. If no one but your mom reads your blog, you’ll wind up like one among the jillions of 20-something-bloggers, yammering on about pets and recipes, with zero readers to tell you what a self-absorbed twit you are.

Writing keeps you accountable to yourself

When I set a goal and accomplish it, I can click “New Post” and brag about it. When I set a goal and fail, (temporarily) I feel ashamed and obligated to pick myself up and get back to it.
Whatever content your blog usually features, if you have a personal goal that you’re working on, put it out there for your audience. It would be much easier for me to give up on optimizing my life and settle into comfortable high-mediocrity, if doing so didn’t entail losing face in the eyes of the world.
The first point is one of the main reasons I started this blog.  His words perfectly summarize my thought process, nothing more to add.

The second one: to be honest, I am not the most interesting person in the world.  In the past I have blamed me not doing many new experiences on being tied down by my family.  I realize this is somewhat of a cop-out.  While it is somewhat true, there has to be a balance of doing what I want, whenever I want, and doing nothing exciting, ever.  I did go out and do a lot of new things when I was single, including going on submarine rides halfway around the world, and taking road trips halfway across the US.  That's probably a large part of what attracted my wife to me. 

On a related note, for the first time in a while, I took my wife out last week.  Game has steadily been improving my marriage, but it's always interesting to see what she responds to.  This was one of the few times that I really took the lead, and it showed.  I informed my wife when she got home from work that we were going out.  I prepared everything in advance, and we went out and had a blast.  Then came home and continued to have a blast.  This one action, more than anything else I've done in the last year, has improved our relationship.  I'll post more in the future on how we got into such a slump.

On the third point: I've got several things going on towards a unified goal, but I'm not sure I can break it down by listing each activity as a goal in and of itself. 

My three main goals, the first leading up to the second, and the second to the third:  Number 1 is to become debt free.  A few years back, my wife opened up a bunch of credit cards behind my back.  Needless to say, I was pissed.  We've been steadily paying them off, but we've also added 2 more kids since then and upgraded houses three times since then.  Our income has been increasing, but our monthly expenses seem to go up right along with them.  We've made a conscious effort to trim back, but it's much easier said than done.

My second goal, is to own the property I live on.  I'm sick of paying rent each month and it seemingly going into a black hole, never to be seen again.  Obviously there's lots of expenses that come along with owning, and I intend to make an informed decision and not buy a place that's going to end up underwater. 

My third goal is to own a farm.  Hopefully goal 2 and 3 occur at the same time.  My wife was raised on a farm, I was raised in the suburbs.  I've spent my fair share of time on my in-laws farm, and I know it's what I want.  We want (my wife and I) to move out of the city, and live on a more or less self-sustaining farm where we can provide our daily needs all on our own.  I intend to start small, and to continue working at my real job.  Go as far off the grid as we can.  Raise our own beef, chickens, eggs, milk, pump our own water (electric pump), create our own electricity (the one good use for solar/wind).

Anyone is free to tell me any of this is a bad idea.  Comments welcome.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I've got several posts in the works, but nothing has kept my interest long enough to complete.  A recent blog about someone hiring a Navy Nuke started me thinking about my time in (and not in a good way).  Up until a few years ago, I was also in the Navy as an Electrician on a nuclear submarine.  I did my minimum required 6 years, then got out.  IMO, anyone who does more than 8 is a fool. 

I did a search and found this: Navy Increases Bonuses for Nuke Sailors"
the re-enlistment bonus for a four-year contract has increased from $59,600 to $63,000, he said.
That's good right?  No, not really.  The problem (for the Navy) is that it does a really good job of teaching young men a skillset, work ethic, and providing plenty of experience using that skillset (read: overworked).  They're also payed fairly decently, a 20 yo E-4 straight out of high-school with 2 years of Navy schooling, with sea/sub/proficiency pays and food and housing pay on top of his normal salary will be making at least $40k/yr.  Probably better.  After a few more years and one or two promotions the pay gets a lot better, and the grunt work isn't quite so bad.  All else being equal, good pay for an ok job. 

What's my point in all this?   It's not the job of being a nuke that's bad, it's being a nuke in a boat full of coners that's bad.  A coner is any submariner who's not a nuke, they work in the cone, nukes work in the back.  While they get along for the most part, no matter where you go, there's always an undercurrent, a subtle tension.  Selection criteria for nukes is much more stringent, they must test high enough not only on the ASVAB, but also must pass an advanced placement test.  After that they must go through almost 2 years of rigorous schooling, with high dropout rates.  Also many of the Coners are nuke dropouts.  Coners all have exceptionally cushy jobs (except for A-Gangers, they work hard, I've got a lot of respect for them) while receiving about the same pay.  All this tends to foster an atmosphere where nukes believe they are better/smarter than coners, and coners hold nukes in contempt for it.  We'd never never talk about it openly to their face, but behind closed doors if one of them had done something recently to offend us, all bets were off. 

"But Hermit, that doesn't sound so bad", you say?  If that were the extent of it, it would still be manageable.  In fact, I got along with most of them quite well, I hung out with a few of them as much as some of my other nuke friends.  Petty differences in things like intelligence or class or what have you don't bother me much, as long as I get along with them well.  It's not really the coners, it's the coner chiefs.  Well, all chiefs really, but mainly the coner ones.  You see, there are about 16 Chief Petty Officers on the boat, and only 4 of them are nukes.  Between day to day stuff, to when it comes time for advancement, the coner chiefs are always trying to screw over the nukes.  For every slight a coner ever recieved from a nuke, real or imagined, they've no power to do anything as a mere petty officer.  But once they've made chief, they now hold the power.  They might not be your direct supervisor, but there's still plenty of ways for them to make your life miserable.

"Hermit, you sound bitter", you say?  No, it might sound like that, but I'm just stating how things are.  I did my time, got my experience, and GTFO.  I did my best to excel and have fun, and collected some good paychecks along the way.  Towards the end of my term, I briefly entertained the idea of reenlisting.  Back then it was about $48K for 4 more years, and then $65k for a second reenlistment.  That's some serious money, and it was easy to turn down.  It would have only been worth it if I could have gone directly to shore duty.  My detailer (the guy who doles out jobs) wouldn't get me a new job unless I spent another year at sea.  On a Trident, that would have meant only one more run, 3 months out, then a cushy job putting in a few easy hours a day for the next 3 years.  Still not worth it.

Apparently I'm not the only one either.  Else why would the bonuses have gone up by so much since then (inflation can only account for so much).  This isn't just a nuke phenomenom, although it's felt hardest there, and I have more first hand experience with it there.  It's Navy wide at least, that more and more people are opting out.  Albeit for varying reasons, but mostly due to unnecessarily politically charged working environment.  

*Posting as-is, I may update later*