Several years ago my parents bought me an iPod. Thus began my love for iTunes and the iPod/iPhone revolution. One of the very first things I found on iTunes was this section called Podcast. I remember listening to a few of them and thinking they were pretty neat.

Fast forward a few years to just a couple of years ago (it’s currently 2013) when I happened upon a little show called This Week In Google (TWiG).  I was sitting in my car and was killing time by browsing through the list of podcasts on my iPhone and for whatever reason I clicked on the TWiG podcast.  I loved it.  Since then I’ve been listening to and watching a lot of the content on the TWiT network and it’s made me want to start producing my own content.  Leo often talks about the fact that we should be producing and not just consuming content.  I want my voice to be heard.

There’s just one problem, the two areas that I know well, the Navy and law enforcement, are places I work and anything I produce could be interpreted as me making official statements for those two agencies.

The one area that I would really like to focus on is my time in the Navy Reserves.  I’ve written (here) in another post about some of my Navy adventures so it’s no secret that I’m in the Navy.  I really want to focus on making transition into the reserves as easy as possible.  The one thing I have found is that the Navy Reserves has a ton of opportunities and twice as many challenges and I want to identify each of those to make life a little easier.  I would also like to teach to an active audience.  Evaluations, orders, drills, authorized verses unauthorized absences from drill, uniforms, rate conversion and annual training are just a few areas I want to hone in on.

So with all that said, I think I am going to launch a podcast about my experiences in the Navy Reserves.  I don’t have much equipment, but I think I have just enough to get started.

I do need some suggestions on a name for my podcast though.  So, feel free to comment with your suggestion. 🙂

Stay tuned for Episode 1.

Veteran’s Day

ImageTomorrow we will celebrate Veteran’s Day.  This will be my 14th Veteran’s Day being a Military Veteran.  That said, being a military veteran may mean different things to different people.

Wikipedia says that a military veteran is someone who has served or is serving in the military, but there’s more to it than that.

Being a veteran means making the hard decision to leave what is comfortable for something that is unknown.

It means saying goodbye to those you love the most.

It means looking at your mom as she breaks down in tears as you pull away from that last hug before you board the bus heading to places unknown.

It means being given instructions and having to follow them to get you on a plane that will take you to a distant city.

It means having the will power, motivation and intestinal fortitude to stay the course and not come home.

It means being able to be yelled at and accept it.

It means adjusting to “planned failure”.

It means overcoming differences, both personal and societal.

It means accepting different cultures and learning that there is only one true color in the world, Navy Blue.

It means busting your butt to succeed and learning that the phrase “failure is not an option” doesn’t mean you just pass because they don’t want to hurt your feelings but that if you fail, you will get sent back home with your tail between your legs.

It means smelling a submarine for the very first time.

It means building friendships that will stand the test of time.

It means knowing that when you’re in need, your buddy will be there, even at 0200 in the morning, on a weekend.

It means instantly having a new found respect for your grandparents who also served.

It means looking our for your people.

It means being able to accept getting all choked up when talking about the immense sacrifices that those before us have sacrificed.

It means that I’m a Sailor and a Submariner and will be until the day I die!

“I am a United States Sailor.
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly serve my country’s Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment.
I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.”

Dixie Stampede

For 19 years my extended family has been coming to Dixie Stampede.  This weekend was our anual visit.  DS has been open in Pigeon Forge, TN for 23 years and I’ve been able to go to make it for the show almost every year.  There were a few years that I miss due to being out to sea.

Most years the show is the same.  The Master of Ceremony comes out on a horse and sings the same songs and says the same things.  The bulk of the show is made up of a contest between the North and the South seating areas in which cast members ride horses and compete against each other representing their perspective sides.

This year they added a lumber jack competition.  Two lumber jack teams competed in a relay style race.  They started out with a climbing race, followed by two men sawing a log and finally they chopped wood.  Then the two teams competed in a log roll competition.  This was the highlight of the show and was a much welcomed change and addition to our anual event.

Just when you think the show is going to be the exact same thing as it was last year they throw something new in there.  All in all I really enjoy our yearly vacation to the Smokies and I highly recommend a visit to this wonderful area.

As a side note, if you are in the military and want to visit the smokies then pull out that ID card and use it to get some amazing military discounts.  Most places will give anywhere from 25 to 50% off ticket prices.