100 Things About Me February 26, 2005 Charles Updated and modified a bit since my February 26th, 2005 pseudo-anonymous list My given name is actually Charles. I don’t publish my surname because I don’t care for people in the real world Googling for me and thus reading my blog. I’m sure the more industrious and Internet-savvy of you out there could easily put two and two together, I just don’t want to make it any easier than I have to. The nickname ‘Twidget’ is actually military slang meaning “a military enlisted person whose job primarily involves using or maintaining electronics.” I took the term as my nickname because I used to be a ‘twidget’. I spent five and a half years as an enlisted person in the U.S. Navy (December 2, 1987 – July 26, 1993). I actually remember those dates. My rating was a Data Systems Technician (DS). That rating no longer exists, it was combined, along with several other technical ratings, into Electronics Technician after my discharge. I spent two months in Boot Camp and the Recruit Training Command in San Diego, California. It was closed in 1995. After boot camp, I spent a year at DS “A” and “C” schools at CSTSC at Mare Island Naval Station in Vallejo, California. Mare Island was closed in 1996. (Beginning to see a pattern here?) The highest rank I ever achieved was that of Petty Officer Third Class. The chevrons petty officers wear on the sleeves of their uniforms are more often called “crows”, because of the perched eagles at the top. I enlisted in the Navy under a program called “advanced enlistment” where, if I enlisted for six year’s duty instead of the usual four, I’d receive a year and a half of electronics training and be advanced to the rank of E-4. Thus, I was called a “push-button crow.” My NEC involved Link 11, a technology that took all the tracks in my ship’s combat systems computer, encrypted the data, turned them into frequencies or tones, broadcast them over radio waves, then in turn receiving other Link 11 capable ships, planes and such’s broadcast data and reversing the process. This effectively created a computer network involving military vessels spreading over hundreds of miles. So, in effect, I was there to maintain and repair, when necessary, a huge modem. While in the Navy, the only ship that I was billeted to was the U.S.S. Worden (CG-18), a destroyer that was upgraded to a light-cruiser in the 1970s. On Monday, October 19th, 1990 at latitude 00000 and longitude 105° 17′ E, my crewmates and I were found qualified to be numbered as one of King Neptunus Rex’s honored shellbacks and duly initiated into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of Shellbacks. Doing so also added 2 points to every advancement exam I would take afterwards. While on the Worden, I served in a war (Desert Shield/Desert Storm), 2 West Pacs, 1 Midshipmen’s cruise, and 1 LEO. While in the Navy, I traveled to the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii; to the United States territory of Guam; to the countries of Australia, Canada, Mexico, British Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka; and the Arab Emirates Bahrain, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. I got to know Bahrain and Singapore as well as my hometown of Shreveport. I was nominated by my Divisional Chief Petty Officer for a NAM prior to my 2nd deployment to the Arabian Gulf for completely overhauling a piece of equipment during the previous deployment. The last time I took the advancement exam, I missed being advanced to 2nd Class Petty Officer by 0.001 of a point. I was later recommended to the Captain for advancement. Sometime during my 2nd deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, while also serving my first of two tours as a mess attendant, I began an upgrade on the Worden’s SSM-4A (Link-4A equipment used to coordinate aircraft’s vectoring). To this day, I don’t remember what happened, but I must’ve started the upgrade, gotten involved with something else and forgot all about it. While spending 12 hours a day making coffee and salad, washing dishes and swabbing decks, I was still expected to do all of my preventative maintenance on my equipment. I must’ve signed off on a preventative maintenance procedure on the equipment I’d begun the upgrade on, but never completed. In Navy slang, this is called “gun decking.” I’m not proud of myself for that. And, I do not remember doing it, but that’s no excuse. I was taken to Captain’s Mast for dereliction of duty. With perfect 4.0 evaluations up to this point and being the most senior 3rd class on the ship with no trouble before this, and falling on the mercy of the Captain, I’d expected maybe a “suspended bust” where I’d be reduced in rank for 6 months, restricted to the ship for that period and being given back my rank and privileges once the time was completed. I was instead reduced in rank to an E-3 (Seaman). Another Petty Officer, who’d helped me in the overhaul and a new Divisional Chief Petty Officer, who hadn’t even been there when we did the overhaul, received the NAM I’d been nominated for. It would’ve been worth an additional 2 points on every advancement exam I would’ve taken from that point onward. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off. The Worden was scheduled to be decommissioned upon the end of my 2nd deployment. When an enlisted member’s EAOS coincides with their ship being decommissioned, the serviceperson may request an early discharge rather than having that serviceperson be transferred to their next duty, then being discharged, So, I got out 6 months early. People ask me about my feeling for the Navy now. I tell them, “It was just like high school: I had good times, I had bad times; overall, I’m glad I did it but you could not pay me enough to go back and do it all again.” Did I mention that I was honorably discharged? No? Well, I was. On Saturday, June 17, 2000 the Worden was sunk in water over 14,000 feet deep and more than 50 miles South of the island of Oahu, where she and I had been home-ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This made it official: every single command I ever served at has since been decommissioned! I’ve just realized that I’ve spent a third of my list of 100 things writing exclusively about my years in service to my country. I’m sorry if it bores you, but it obviously made an enormous impact on me. I’m male (in case you haven’t figured that out, or if you’ve been listening to Jennifer.) I was born May 5, 1960. That makes me 44 at the time of this writing. I’ve been 6 feet tall ever since high school. I currently weigh about 260 pounds. I’ve worn glasses ever since the 6th grade. One day, I’ll get Lasik surgery to correct my near-sightedness. I’m a Christian. I’m heterosexual. I’m pro-life. Decades ago I took a Mensa-proctored intelligence test that measured my I.Q. at 139, making me eligible to join them, but I never have. I never did well in school. I’ve been diagnosed as hypertensive. I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I suffer from depression. I am obsessive-compulsive. I probably have always had ADD. I grew up less than two miles from where I currently live. I graduated in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration majoring in from Mississippi State University. I’ve only voted for one Democrat in my life: Bill Clinton; a badge of shame I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have two housemates: Samantha/Sammie, a female “tortie” I inherited from the breakup with my ex-fiancé and Alexander/Alex, who a co-worker rescued and I later adopted. My first cat was a sweet Burmese named Smokey. He is still my favorite. I’m right-handed. I’m a baritone. I own every (legitimate) Steely Dan CD ever produced. I’ve never been married or lived with a women, but I came close. I smoked a joint the night before I went to see the Navy recruiter. My dad passed away several years ago. I only have one sibling, an older sister named Sharon. I hate having to shave. I couldn’t grow a decent moustache or beard if my life depended on it. I tend to get involved with women that are no good for me. I have no piercings or tattoos. I snore, apparently. I hate to wake up. My idea of the perfect vacation is to stay in bed, never shower or shave, and sleep when I feel like it. I’m lonely, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I wouldn’t pass my own standards for size and attractiveness I require of women I date. But my ex-fiancé taught me that I shouldn’t lower my standards just because that’s a double-standard. My favorite meal is Blackened Salmon Alexander with dirty rice, French bread, a salad with Ranch dressing and Shiner Bock from Pappadeaux. My second favorite would have to be Chicken Scaloppini from Johnny Carino’s. I drive better in the middle of the night and the early morning than I do in the afternoon. I’d rather be too hot than too cold. The first thing I look at on a woman is her hair. If she takes care of her hair and styles it well, it speaks volumes. The second thing would have to be her breasts. Yep, I’m a breast man. Generally I prefer larger to smaller. Although small can be nice. It’s really all about shape. A woman’s flat tummy and the nape of her neck are big turn-ons for me. If I could date any celebrity, the only name that instantly comes to mind is Jennifer Connelly . I smoked two packs of Marlboro red in high school, and gave them up cold turkey. I talk way too much and about things I ought not. I love lean, large, juicy filet mignon. I also love Waffle House in the middle of the night. In high school, I was a draftsman. I’ve also been a waiter, a head waiter and an assistant manager. My favorite ice creams are Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Batter, Ben & Jerry’s One Sweet Whirled (sadly, no longer available) and Godiva Belgian Dark Chocolate. My taste in music ranges from Bach to They Might Be Giants. I spend an inordinate amount of time talking about anything but WordPress in #wordpress. I’ve blogged using Blogger, Movable Types and WordPress. I’d rather listen to Glenn Beck and Mark Davis than Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. My shoe size is 12 wide. My favorite color would probably be forest green. Briefs. I’ve memorized many Monty Python scenes. My favorite authors are Tom Clancy, Douglas Adams and Bill Hybels. (How’s that for eclectic? No, I won’t tell you when I lost my virginity, only that it did, indeed, happen. If I could’ve chosen any other career for myself, I’d either be a musician/singer/songwriter or a college history professor. To this day, I still fold my underwear and t-shirts. See number 9 and 47. I flail all over the bed when I sleep, except when Sammie and/or Alex pin my legs down. This list was easier to make than I thought it would be.