The SkywalkerSwartz Blog

Sunday, October 26, 2003

How to Cross the Street Like a New Yorker

I'm currently on leave from Nuclear Power School...or, techically, the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC)...or, even more technically, I'm on leave from Temporary Additional Duty at GWU NROTC, which was assigned by the NNPTC. Long story.

I recently visited New York, and got to see two friends who are both going to Mt. Sinai Medical School. Being in New York reminded me of the following list that I came up with during my visit last Spring--the Rules for Crossing the Street Like a New Yorker:
  1. Step off the curb and glare at the traffic

  2. When there is a break in traffic, walk quickly but nonchalantly across the street

  3. Above all, do not pay attention to the traffic lights. They are merely there to entrance the tourists.

I'm now off to Boston, where I'll get to visit more Stanford folk...eventualy swinging back to DC, to hang out with my brother and finish up my "TAD."

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Graduation...and "On n'est pas français!"

On Friday, we had our dive school graduation ceremony. It was a little anti-climactic, but we did get our "scuba bubbles" pinned on by our instructors, who also gave short speeches about the class. BM1 (DV) Pederson, who is known for subjecting classes to neck exercises and thus was known affectionately as "The Neck of Steel," gave a particularly poignant, although characteristically brief, address, which he ended with, "Welcome to my family." This made me realize not only how the Navy diving community is like a family, but also made me proud that he would consider us full members of that family.

I also forgot to mention a fun tidbit: At dive school, they frequently ask if you want to D.O.R.--Drop On Request. (This was made famous in An Officer and a Gentleman where GYSGT Foley, played by Louis Gossett Jr., repeatedly tells Richard Gere's character, Zack Mayo, "I want your DOR!") We were encouraged to come up with some kind of collective class response, like "Hell no, we won't go!" So, after some discussion, we decided on, "We're not French!"

Thus, every time we'd start an activity, they would ask us to go through the safety procedures. "What are your training time out signals?" "Help, hold, four, T!" we would say in unison. "Does anyone want to DOR?" "We're not French!"

As a self-acknowledged francophile (although without French blood), it pained me somewhat to say this. However, as French Military History in a Nutshell (which links to the original) points out, the French have a long and glorious history of waving the white flag. Hence, the Google parody "French Military Victories" (which, I think, predated the equally hillarious Weapons of Mass Destruction Google-triggered parody). Despite my love for the French culture, food, language, and people, if there were ever a nation that DOR'd, it would be la France.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Diving Deep

We did our first open-water dive today, on a wreck at 68 feet. Amazing! It was just like Finding Nemo...except with less color (everything looks green or brown). Hundreds--if not thousands--of little fish swam around us, along with schools of larger fish. It was neat being able to see where we were going, too; after the pierside dives, this seemed crystal-clear. I got myself at near-neutral bouyancy (i.e. the bouyant force of my "bouyancy compensator"--basically a suped up bag of air--was about equal to my weight), so when I stepped on the bottom it was a bit like walking on the moon. Pretty cool.

On Friday we'll be getting our Scuba pins and the meantime, I'm having a fun time arguing with the Nuclear Power School about reporting early...

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