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Belated....But Hi!

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Belated....But Hi!

Post  sendoshin on Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:46 pm

I had typed out a really long intro post, and the forums logged me out before I could submit it, so it all got hopelessly lost. GRRRRRRRRRRR...

Oh, well, here goes again.

I noticed that I have been a member of the site for almost a year and half, but I still haven't introduced myself. I will try to fix that here.

The easiest way for me to do that will be to copy the information from a Speech class assignment I just completed. I will then attempt to amplify on that info so you have a better idea of who I really am.


  1. I love camping and other outdoor activities.
  2. I have a deep love for and interest in knowing things.
  3. At one time, for a day, I had 12 cats.
  4. I have lived in Colorado, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Hawaii, and now Idaho again. The Hawaii bit was while I was on Active Duty with the US Navy.
  5. I started working with computers - by programming them! - at the age of 11.

So now for the amplification...

1: I am an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow, BSA's "honor society". Membership in the OA has as a prerequisite a love of camping and the outdoors, and their main goal is to promote outdoor activities among the other scouts. The OA is possibly the closest thing I have come to occult ceremony, but the ceremonies used by the OA are symbolic rather than spiritual. Each is meant to convey an important lesson to the participants. On the other hand, there's not much difference between that and most occult ceremonies I'm aware of anyhow. The spiritual aspects of those come as a side-effect of the symbolism being interpreted by the participants. Oversimplification, I'm sure, but just the same.

2: I love learning things I don't already know. It isn't that knowledge is power - though I believe that as well. I simply like knowing things. I hate the feeling of not knowing what people around me are talking about (unless they're talking about things I have absolutely no interest in, such as sports, though even there I'm losing some of my barrier against learning), so I set out to learn as much as I can so that I only very rarely have to be in such situations. There's also a profound satisfaction in understanding something that was enigma to you the day - or moment - before. A sense of accomplishment. Not many of these are very spiritually helpful reasons to seek knowledge, I'm aware, but my spiritual growth hasn't been much of a focus until just recently. Like, the past week.

3: Pewter, Chessie, Pepper, Teagan, Pumpkin, D.C., and Joy were the (seven) adult cats at the time, and Joy had a litter of five. Pepper ended up dying the next day, leaving us with 11 cats. The kittens were given to homes that had less feline competition for food and whatnot. Teagan went for a walk - jumping the fence in the backyard to do so - and forgot to come back; he always was a bit of a knot-head. Pewter died some time after, then Chessie and Pumpkin finally passed away at about the same time. D.C. and Joy still live with my parents, along with two newcomers, James and Jethrow (we usually call him by his middle name, Gibbs), and a dog, Harley.

4: Pewter and Chessie were sisters, from the same litter, and came to the house before I was conscious of the world around me. At the time, we had a Siamese named Smoky as well. I was born in Colorado, and lived in Arvada, a Denver suburb, for the first three and a half years of my life - long enough for my sister to come along and turn two. It was around that time that we moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho, as a side effect of dad leaving the phone company (one of the Bells at the time) and going to work for the US Department of Energy (DoE). Coincidentally, two weeks after my dad got the new job, his old job at the phone company was eliminated. Missed unemployment by a slim margin, there! Pepper either joined the family shortly before or shortly after (I think after, based on what I remember being told; I have no memories of living in Colorado) the move to I.F.

Four years later saw Teagan in our midst, as well as my brother (not quite in that order, though, I don't think...), and dad's job was disappearing again. This time, however, there were options. The same job title still existed in the Pennsylvania and South Carolina DoE installations where Westinghouse (which has since sold at least that part of itself to Bechtel Marine) had buildings. My parents opted for what they saw to be the lesser of two evils, and we moved to Pennsylvania, though Smoky didn't seem to like the idea, so moved on to another life before we left. South Park is a suburb of Pittsburgh - one so small the mailing address says Library, PA. - and yes, that's its actual name. Pumpkin joined the family while we were there, and nobody jumped ship before things were uprooted again. One of the guys back in Idaho was retiring, leaving his position open. When the decision-makers got together to decide who would take his spot, the first name that came up was my dad's. By the end of the day - which is unheard of in government circles because the paperwork involved makes it near impossible - dad had the DoE equivalent of military orders to move back to Idaho. My parents left house-hunting by the end of the week.

Not wanting to abuse the cats further than absolutely necessary, we opted to fly this move rather than driving as we had both times before. Pepper traveled as a carry-on - she was too small and frail even by that time to trust to the "gorillas" handling baggage and other checked items - and the other four traveled in with the luggage. Aside from freezing a bit, and likely the extreme noise in non-passenger areas of the planes, the cats all survived with little more than dignity lost in the process. My parents still live in the house that we moved into that time, in the city of Ammon, which is nearly a suburb of Idaho Falls at this point - both are growing at the same rate, but Idaho Falls had a head start on growing, so it's likely everything else will be considered I.F.'s suburb. I, however, didn't stop there.

About eight years passed, and I finished fifth grade through the end of high school. As the end of my senior year approached, I did something very stupid - I made a promise in the spirit of a threat. The threat was ignored, but the promise was kept, and I joined the US Navy. There were several added benefits of this, of course, that made it worth my while. Nowhere else would I have been able to get a scholarship as comprehensive as the new Post-911 GI Bill (my grades suffered due to boredom with homework). Nowhere else could I travel to parts of the world I'd never dreamed of seeing without having to pay a cent - indeed, getting paid to go there. The job training and experience I gained in the service are unparalleled nearly anywhere else. In all, it was a pretty good deal for me. As a side effect of being in the Navy, though I had to pick up and move. First it was off to Great Lakes, Illinois, not far from Chicago, for basic training. Then it was Pensacola, Florida for job training. All of the Cryptologist jobs except Interpreters have their training in Pensacola. After that, and a very short trip home on leave, it was off to Hawaii for three and a half years.

Two weeks after my arrival in Pearl Harbor, where I was stationed on a guided-missile cruiser, we deployed. Navy deployments (on the active duty side, anyhow) are different from others in that the entire command goes with you. It was my first time outside the US. Indeed, Hawaii was my first trip outside the "middle 48" states. We visited Singapore and Phuket, Thailand on our way to the Arabian Gulf (previously called the Persian Gulf), where we more or less babysat two Iraqi oil platforms that allowed tankers to fill up with oil pumped from inland. I like to point out when I get to this part of the story that not a single tanker in that area was headed for the US. In fact, if the US sees any of that oil, it's long after the stuff's been processed and marked up to the point that it's cheaper to use Texan or Alaskan oil instead. Anyone who still believes the UN went into Iraq to secure oil for the US needs to redo their research. Anyhow, our job was to keep pirates and Iranians from sabotaging the platforms, and if we had the time, the tankers as well. There were times when the tankers were too far away when the pirates came for us to be of any help. We watched the Iranians like a hawk, though. The moment any of them showed even the slightest sign of crossing the border between Iranian and Iraqi waters, we had a boat running them back across the line. It was definitely an interesting mission.

Halfway through each deployment is a scheduled "rest and relaxation" port visit to allow sailors to unwind and recharge so they don't fail the mission due to overwork and whatnot. Keeps morale up, too. This deployment we made our stop in Bahrain (which is incidentally when and where I got the pair of shoes I'm wearing right now Very Happy ), then headed back out to the platforms to continue the job. We had handed the mission off to another ship long enough to make our port visit, and we took it back with renewed energy and purpose. To my understanding, no ship has done as good a job at that mission since. Nonetheless, we were ready to leave when the time rolled around that it was time to wrap up and hand the mission off for good. On the way home we hit Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the gold capital of the world. Lots of money in Dubai. Bit hot in the warmer months of the year, but then it is on the Arabian Peninsula, the source of the tales of Arabian princes and their magic lamps. Still, nice place overall, and home of the world's only seven-star hotel - there's a charge of around US$150 just to walk through the front door. Rooms are tens of thousands US$ per night. So no, I've never been there. Very Happy After Dubai, the plan was to visit Perth and Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately, at the time we were traveling with a much smaller ship - a frigate - that couldn't quite handle the turbulent waves in the southern Indian Ocean without capsizing, so we had to alter our course to accommodate them. As it turned out, however, they ended up visiting different ports than we did anyhow, so the whole affair seemed like a waste of time to most of the sailors aboard. I imagine the CO wasn't too happy, either. We ended up visiting Darwin and Brisbane, Australia instead, so we still got an Australia visit. I just wish I had known at the time that I knew a Brisbane resident with whom I could have quite enjoyed my visit - more so than I did, given that Christmas passed while we were still on the pier. Hindsight may not be 20/20, but it sure is better than foresight.

At any rate, since the Darwin/Brisbane stops were a last-minute change of plans, we ended up running far lower on fuel than we would have liked, so we scheduled yet another stop in Pago Pago, American Samoa to refuel. It was somewhat shorter a visit than others had been, and we were soon off for home, the famous Pearl Harbor. Deployment ended, but a month or so later we were back out to sea to do an international relations exercise with the Russian navy. Our CO was so concerned about the appearance of our ship that by the time we pulled into port, the Russians felt ashamed of their own ships' appearance and ran out of paint trying to come close to our degree of beauty. They had to borrow paint from us to get the job done. Still, it was a good experience, something the US and Russia hadn't done in over a decade. After that we headed home.

About a year and a half later, we ended up in San Diego, California, where we were preparing to deploy again. Once preparations were complete, we headed out to do the mission. Our first stop was in Guam, presumably to acquire some last-minute supplies and equipment. From there we went to Langkawi, Malaysia, which is on an island near Thailand, and then Goa, India, on the western coast. That was an interesting experience. Having never had a US Navy warship in their port before, they emptied our waste tanks into a truck or two, then used those same trucks to bring our drinking water back to the ship. The trucks were refused and US sanitation regulations explained, and new trucks were brought to provide cleaner water. Still, the engineers in charge of the water on the ship practically dumped iodine and other water purifying agents into the water tanks to try to make them safe to use. The water tasted funny for a week or two after we left. I rather liked Goa despite that - I had the chance to eat Indian food, made by Indian cooks, in the Indian style... in India. Something one of my good friends online (we refer to eachother as siblings despite no biological relationship) was very jealous of when I told her. After that, we went on to perform our mission. I can't say what it was, but I can say it was around the Horn of Africa - look for Somalia on a world map to find it. Our R&R stop this time was the Seychelles, a French vacation island. I know several sailors who still think it was the closest thing to a *real* port visit since we left Pearl Harbor. Very Happy After that it was back to the mission.

We actually almost had to turn over the mission to another ship early because a piece of equipment vital to the mission was broken. I wasn't a member of the team doing the actual primary mission - my job was support, basically making sure missiles didn't hit the ship, and keeping an eye on what ships were out there - but I hold the same level of clearance, and happen to know something of how their equipment was set up. Just as they were about to give up and turn the ship around to head home, someone thought to ask me to see what I could do about it. Not long after, the equipment was working again, and the ship was able to stay and complete the mission. I still haven't gotten any recognition for that, but I'm working on it. Slowly.

Anyhow, once the mission was complete, we visited Dubai again. The sole purpose of that visit was to raise crew morale before the final port visit. For those who didn't like Dubai for whatever reason, we stopped in Hong Kong for a few days as well. Then the final port came: Cebu, Philippines. Cebu had been closed to the US Navy for at least a decade due to some sailors getting into legal trouble - something about rape, I think. Not cool. The government of Cebu was willing to try again, and invited our ship to pull in to their port. We anchored out - none of the piers would have worked for a ship our size - and began the visit. The first few days were spent helping a humanitarian organization build homes for the homeless. I actually enjoyed that as well, having volunteered to help out where several others had been "voluntold". Unfortunately, I had a medical condition that prevented me from doing any of the hard labor, such as preparing cement for the floors - these were very simple homes, but better than nothing by far. For the majority of the time, I worked the water pump so that the cement could be mixed properly. Still, I helped contribute, and things went much faster as a result of one person pumping while others could spend time doing the "real" work. And it tired out my shoulders as it was, so I can't imagine I would've been much help hauling cement anyhow. I hope those homes weren't destroyed in the recent mudslides and earthquakes in the area.

Cebu was the last stop before home, and everyone fully enjoyed having returned. About a year later, I completed my active duty time and left to join the Navy Reserves, where I still work today, albeit two days a month, two weeks a year. I'm actually going to do my two weeks this year over the course of four, over in San Diego. I think I'll rather enjoy it, in all honesty. We'll see what happens when it comes. At any rate, when I left active duty, I left Hawaii for home, which is back in Idaho Falls. I'm currently going to school here for a Bachelor's in Business Administration (BBA), major in General Business and minor in Computer Science.

5: Which brings me to my last point. When I was eleven, I was working toward getting my Eagle Scout award. One of the requirements for Eagle is to complete a certain number of merit badges, which are basically like simple training courses in several fields of interest. Some of the badges are specified - for example, First Aid and Personal Financial Management are both required for Eagle - but many are not. A minimum of 21 merit badges is required, including the specified ones. Among the optional badges is one called Computers. I had long been interested in computer technology - my father is a computer network administrator for the Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) at the DoE installation here in Idaho (it's called the Idaho National Labs, or INL) - so I opted to get the Computers badge during a sort of merit badge workshop where several badges would be offered in a way that they could be earned in a matter of three weeks.

Each merit badge is designed similarly to the requirements for Eagle themselves - some of the assignments to complete the badge training are required, and several are optional, usually being in the form of "choose one of the following:". The Computers badge had one such requirement that read something like the following (these requirements have since been revised):

Computers Merit Badge Requirements, unknown previous edition wrote:Do ONE of the following:

  1. Use a spreadsheet program to develop a food budget for a patrol weekend campout.
  2. Use a computer graphics program to design and draw a campsite plan for your troop, OR design a flyer for an upcoming troop event.
  3. Use a general purpose programming language to write a simple program application of your choice, subject to approval by your counselor.

You can probably guess, based on the points I made at the top of this post, that I opted for c. The language was QBasic, and the application - actually developed by the counselor as I watched and he explained what he was doing, but I understood it when he was done well enough to qualify for the requirement - gave every prime number up to the input (which is to say, it asked for a number, and then gave every prime number smaller than - or equal to - the one you gave it). From there, I started writing all sorts of "hello, world"-style applications from scratch, slowly adding bits and pieces to my understanding and knowledge of how to make the computer dance to my tune. I even had it "singing" at one point. Very Happy I eventually moved on to more powerful languages, and my latest achievement is the Release Index for DigiMob itself. Not a whole lot, for those who do web programming for a living, but since I go to school for a living, it's actually not too bad, in my own opinion.




All of that is, I'll admit, rather mundane. Unfortunately, it's about the limit of my experience. I didn't become interested in spiritual growth, as I mentioned above, until just recently, so my experience with the occult is rather limited. I hope to be able to change that in the future. In the meantime, go well, and may the Winds guide you in your Journey.

- Sendoshin

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Re: Belated....But Hi!

Post  Khephra on Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:47 pm

What a thorough and informative introduction! Cheers for sharing it!

You mention that your spiritual interests are rather recent. Have they taken on any particular hue? Have you found any domains of particular resonance yet?

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Re: Belated....But Hi!

Post  sendoshin on Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:58 pm

I'd have to say no. I haven't had the time to truly investigate enough to really know. I'd like to take a good look at as many different aspects of as many different paths as I can before I decide to narrow my own path down to any one. Indeed, if I didn't believe so many of the paths were mutually exclusive to be followed simultaneously, I'd try to go down every path that would take me. I'm just that brand of interested in knowledge. Smile

I will certainly take the advice of others here into consideration as I make my decisions, but I will do so with the understanding that each will try to advocate his or her own particular path of resonance, and that will temper their advice somewhat. I'll try to keep my progress updated here - in the appropriate forums, of course.

- Sendoshin

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Re: Belated....But Hi!

Post  amandachen on Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:11 pm

Hello, dear
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Re: Belated....But Hi!

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:56 pm

Hi Sendoshin - glad to have you on-board! Very Happy
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Re: Belated....But Hi!

Post  sendoshin on Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:16 pm

@amandachen: .o/ I have enjoyed your sarcastic wit on many a thread. Very Happy

@ankh_f_n_khonsu: Glad to be around, and to have my offers for help so readily accepted. Smile

- Sendoshin

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