Archive for the ‘Dragonet’ Category

Life Goes On & On… Part 2, an Update

April 9, 2009

For those that are interested or care, an Update on my Monday Post

I completed my day and a half, 725 mile interview tour to Houston & Austin, and although I won’t know the results until the end of next week, I think that I have a pretty good shot at both opportunities, and probably better with the Austin position. Again, the unfortunate issue is the requirement to move (I’ve always said, I’d rather be beat to death than move, as when you’re done you feel about the same) for either job; the fortunate, if the latter position, then I’ll be living much closer to my father in the Lake Hill Country of Texas. I’m one of those guilty sons that always wanted to spend more time with his father, but because of jobs have never had much opportunity. Now with his advancing age (85) and health issues (treatable– at this point– congestive heart failure) I am well aware that time is running out, so the thought of living within 50 miles (the closest since I was 18) vs. the nearest since, 245 (currently) miles, is a real boon and exciting. I spent Tuesday night with him and my step-mother and they were hopeful that the opportunity will work out.

I will be working the next two days editing the last chapter of my novel (Dragonet: Allah’s Instrument) for submission to my acqauintance for her to pass on her boss for his input next week.

On to Illya, after dropping him off at the vet on Monday morning for the fluid treatment, I went on with a number of errands, but less than 2 hours later they called for me to return and pick him up. They ran his blood tests again and they were much much worse and had decided that the treatment would kill him outright (more or less drown him) and that we could only continue with what meds we were already giving and make him comfortable. That was Monday noon, and he’s still the same, bouncy and alert, but I have noticed he seems to be resting/sleeping more. But, again, when he’s up, there doesn’t seem to be any change. This is slowly killing my wife, she feels that this is happening every couple of months  (it isn’t really that frequent), but then four in less than two years is way too much for a heart such as hers.

Now, as Life DOES go on & on, a friend sends me a reality check on my sadness of the impending loss a beloved pet while she is having to close the “doors” on her 35 year old drug-addicted daughter. They tried an intervention a couple of weeks ago (on her birthday) and this on-going hell for her has come to the tough love (as we called it in the 70s)  requirement. My pain is real, I love this animal, but what is my pain to hers — nothing. I have been fortunate and blessed that of five children (four sons and one step-daughter), they’re all well, healthy and successful. One son was on this same path in high school but God’s providence allowed him to meet a young lady (on the same path as well) and in their meeting and joining they changed their path, part of which was in giving their lives’ to Christ. Now they’ve been married 5 years, have successful careers, are integral to their church’s growth, and have a lovely home and we are hoping they’ll become parents and pass their love on to those children.

But, how do I express my pain for my friend when I haven’t had to make that choice with a child? Our children are our love personified and when they hurt we hurt, but when the seem to want to hurt, how do we take that away? Can we heal them or must we let nature take it’s course? We can only do so much for them and then it’s up to them. My friend has fought this addiction for her child and I’m sure she feels she has failed, but she hasn’t, she’s loved, supported and sacrificed to save her and the child doesn’t want saving. The problem is the child has not fought the addiction — the child has failed, not the mother. So, as I sit here worried for my wife and the pain to come for our loss of a loved furrkid, my pain is nowhere in the same realm that my friend is experiencing at this same moment.

I pray that God will intervene and save this child as he intervened and saved mine, but the child has to allow that option — she has to recognize the rescue when it shows itself–it is solely up to her. My friend should and will, I’m sure, continue to pray, as I will for her strength, and continue the love for her daughter she shows by closing the doors.

UPDATE (138 PM cdt): From my friend:

After a couple nights in her car, [Xxx] managed to get into a rehab. First she has to go to a detox facility, then to the rehab. This will be her third time in rehab. Maybe the third time will be the charm?

It does seem that tough love works, as does God’s will; perhaps He has gotten her attention. kb

Life goes on and on

April 6, 2009

To those folks that actually come here (the blog) regularly, I apologize for the lack of material the last and this coming week–life requires attention and mine has.

The continuing search for employment has resulted with (very fortunately) two interviews this week; one in Houston tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon and the second in Austin on Wednesday morning, which allows me a few hours tomorrow night to spend with my father north of Austin where I’ll spend the night.  These are the only serious interest that I’ve garnered since I began this recent search in January. The obvious result if either opportunities shake out is we’ll be moving from the DFW area where we’ve lived (for all but 2 years) since the early 80s and where three of four sons (and families)  live, but such is need over want when looking for work.

Another opportunity has graced my time the last week as well, an offer to get my recent fiction (a sample here on my My Novels Page) in front of someone that has ties to publishing. So, I have been working to clean up and edit three representative chapters from the novel to submit for review and input, if nothing else, but hopefully to be passed on to an agent or editor. Of course, y’all know that I’d prefer this avenue to employment–writing for a living–but, I will wait until I hear if my work is worthy, and I receive a big-ass check before I quit looking for substantive employment.

Finally, our beloved 10 year old SamChow (Samoyed Chow mix), Illya, has been diagnosed with complete kidney failure. He isn’t much changed from when he was younger, so no noticeable indications of the illness, we just happened to find out through blood testing only because of my concern for some lost weight and the vet noticing his gums seemed pale–btw, there is no standard for blood testing for dogs or cats unless there are obvious indicators. Needless to say, this is terrible news as we have lost  four furrkids in less than two years. Regardless of that and how dear Illya is to us, facing another passing is just heart-wrenching. We have been running back and forth to the vet for meds and special food, in fact I have to take him in for a 48 hour fluids therapy this morning–drop him off today and pick him up on my return from my interview trip Wednesday afternoon. We hope that all our efforts can give him a comfortable life for a little while longer, again he shows no outward evidenceof his dibilitating disease, but when it comes down to it, we will not let him suffer.

All in all, fortune seems to be smiling on me momentarily and I intend to take advantage as best I can, but life goes on and other less fortunate issues come along to ensure we don’t forget that life is tenuous at best. One must take everything one step and day at a time and weather what storms that come, but enjoy the sunshine that lightens our lives.

With that said, I don’t understand the thought process of these arrogant murders, that we’ve been bombarded with the last few weeks, that walk into a Civic Center, Assisted Living Home, neighbor’s or relatives’ homes, etc. and start blowing away people just because their life sucks at the moment. Nor, of course, do I understand the Islamofascist suicide bomber or terrorist intent on killing and maiming en masspeople just going about their business because their god has promised 72 virgins or a heroic death. To my way of thinking, there is no differnece between the two groups–they have NO regard to the living and only care about how they are treated and thought of afterward–Arrogant Assholes all!

I’m Looking for a Job, Agent or Publisher–Perhaps all Three

March 17, 2009

Okay, folks, it’s my blog and I’m indulging myself.  No surprise to most that visit here, I am unemployed and looking for a job.

I am a resourceful and experienced high-tech electronics sales professional.

That said, how did I become such? Hard hands-on work my entire career, from my Naval service as an Electronics Technician (Forward) on submarines in ESM (Electronics Surveillance Measures) and Radar; through my Field Engineering in Nevada as part of the Electronic Warfare Range project for the Joint Chiefs of Staff where I more or less portrayed a Brigadier General in the Russian Army Missile Corps; to private high voltage power distribution equipment installation, testing and servicing in the Houston area; then into the Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry installing, on-site engineering and working on Ion Implanters and CVD process equipment.

I was fortunate enough to be hired for a multiple discipline joint venture pricinpaled by a major Japanese firm to be the primary American technical interface with the foreign engineers and startup service manager for a variety of manufacturing equipment including, again, an Ion Implanter, as well as other products. This experience was so important in that I worked with different cultures, but also carried both a tool box and briefcase. I sucessfully made the first large capital sale for the company to a major semiconductor manufacturer.

As with all things at that time, there were many difficulties in dealing with Japan monetarily and the venture died a quick death. Once again, fortune smiled and I moved into full time sales with a leading Printed Circuit Board manufacturing equipment company forcasting and selling CNC Drillers, Driller/Routers, CAD systems and Photoplotters; from there I was recruited to another, and instrumental to the manufacturing of PCBs, selling their CAD and Photoplotters. Eventually, as many others before me, I formed my own representation firm, taking on products and capital equipment primarily in both Semiconductor and PCB manufacturing industries, although I called on a number of others.

I the recent past, in order to stay close to home (capital equipment sales are demanding and require considerable travel) and raise my youngest son, I sold residential and light commercial HVAC, as well as engineered system solutions and developed geo-thermal plans.

With my son’s schooling finished, I was able to once more look at the high-tech industry, prepared to travel as required, and took a sales postion with a PCB design and manufacturer where my primary responsiblilty was to grow the market share through prospecting of new customer clients and expansion of existing.

I was successful in bringing in new customers, but timing was against us, so shortly after the progression began, orders dwindled as our military and consumer electronic manufacturing customers’ orders died with the new administration and economic crisis, and I was laid off.

Now, whether the following helps or hurts me in the search for employment, I also write in two genres of fiction, and I am looking for an agent or publisher. It seems that breaking into the published writer industry is near to impossible unless you are published first–seems like the proverbial Catch-22, doesn’t it? I had hopes that starting my blog would help, but I haven’t seen any, probably because of the limited exposure; therein lies this appeal I post today.

Regarding my writing; I started with a fantasy story, more in the Arthurian-esque line than high fantasy, such as Tolkien and others, mine is more based in human interaction with magic as the sub-story. I have completed (written & edited) the first trilogy and have at least eleven more novels in the series to write. I recently wrote my first novel in espionage/mystery/thriller (which is posted in “Pages” on the blog) dealing with a terrorist-sleeper and a submarine (if you can imagine from my background); it is currently being revised and edited, but is finished for all practical purposes.  I foresee the main character having a continuing story with at least four more novels I’m currently working. I guess I could be a prodigious writer if given the chance and from the many reviews from those  that have read my work for the last many years that I’ve shared it.

So, to recap, I am not afraid of work, I started early on pushing a lawnmower and selling GRIT (you’d have to be of an age to know about that newspaper), then making pizzas through high school; I was even a nuclear med tech (portable) before joining the Navy. I learned electronics in the best schools in the world, the US NAVY, at a time when you learned component level engineering and troubleshooting, then fixed systems aboard submarines (wihtout spare parts) and drove them as well. I tell potential employers I can work anywhere and that you can’t make me work or send me to any a worst place than a submarine. Leaving the Navy I became a field engineer and Russian general shooting down American planes (simulated of course), followed by the rest of my resume as you read above.

I am sucessful in all I do, timing of life events has been challenging throughout my life, but as a repsonible husband and father, I made the best choices and moved ahead for the betterment of myself, my family and our livlihood.

I am not scared or too old to learn new things–in fact, I thrive on new challenges and education. If I can drive a submarine, I could learn to drive a CAT; if I can sell furnaces in Texas, I can sell anything. If I can operate and ion implanter to modify the resistance of the molecular make up of a substrate then I can learn to operate just about anything with knobs, button, keys or dials.

I am verbally articulate and would love to say I am an accomplished writer, but with nothing published, except vanity here and my first novel, before I knew any better, I cannot lie and further myself without falsification.

When you meet me, I’m straightforward, no BS, even though I’m from west Texas and can deal with the best of them, I presume and know from experience that will accomplish nothing; too bad politicians haven’t learned that.

You get all my knowledge, it’s extensive across a broad range of industries and expertise in many, when you hire me. You get my undivided attention, but I won’t lie to you and tell you that work comes before my family–it doesn’t–does yours?

I’m a silver-tounged devil, but find that which you will find interesting versus what most want you to hear. I can and have make presentations from the mailroom clerks to the CEOs & Boards. I can kick clods in the field in dress shoes or boots, again, I have done both. I can drive a submarine, truck, car and ride a horse–doubt too many others can say all that. I can dress in a three-piece banker or work shirt and bluejeans to get the job done. And as I said before, you can’t make me work in or go to any worst places than I haven’t already been. BTW, finally, I am willing to relocate just about anywhere.

So, why am I unemployed?

Because I haven’t talked to the right person as yet–is that you?

Contact me by leaving a comment (your email will show to me and your comment won’t show until I approve, etc., which I won’t)or if you’d like to network and a brief desciption of the opportunity or your background and I will reply and attach my resume.

[And, please, I beg you, no BS or GRQ (get rich quick, including Grants) schemes or scams–I will report you as SPAM otherwise.]

The Newest Novel

January 8, 2009

For those that would like to sample some of my work, here’s the new novel’s start.

Dragonet: Allah’s Instrument

By Kent Book © 2006

 

PRELUDE

 

The behemoth passes quietly through the pressures of the deep; its blackness makes it noticeable in the stygian water and the light that filters down through the fathoms mottles its skin.

It is a hunter, it’s old and tired, but still aggressive if need be. It is patient; it listens passively; it forebodes ill if aroused; and it is on its last mission. Dragonet, its name given by others, glides forward to its destiny, scattering its much smaller namesake as its masters drive it to its reckoning.

Dragonet moves through the darkness, perhaps not as quietly as when it was younger or as quietly others of its kind, but quietly enough still that few have the aural quality to hear its passage from above. It is fast in contrast to the pressure and resistance of the water that surrounds it, its shape and form increases its speed submerged, but hinders its progress when on the surface.

In its thirty years of life, Dragonet has been a warrior of outstanding successes. It has been to war with others of its kind, opponents and enemies of the deep, its mind made up by other entities as the others are as well. It has killed those of the deep and the surface–water and land–in self-defense and in aggression, but always with the welfare of its masters and their nation in mind.

The Masters are warriors themselves, though seldom confronted face-to-face with their enemy; still they use Dragonet to exert their will over others that would do the same if given the chance. They never attack without provocation and only after much thought and concern. The Masters are not those that make war for the need to make war, they respond to aggression and death to live and preserve their nation against those that would tear it asunder.

It knows nothing; it only serves its masters. It is not sentient and therefore knows nothing of its future or past. The glory it achieves is known only by those that control it and sometimes by the world as a whole, but most of its work and victories are kept by only a few. To be sure, although it knows nothing of its history, Dragonet is a proud name and its service has been exemplary.

Its masters have decided that its usefulness is at an end; it is to retire and is on its way to that rest. But, first a stop to show itself to the Masters’ nation, in recognition of its successful mission, sacred and primary — the defense and protection of the nation and its people. There is to be much fanfare made of its past and arrival; there will be many that will come to look and visit; and some that come for other reasons, but Dragonet knows nothing of any of that. It goes as commanded, blind to the need of recognition, deaf to the applause and music that will greet it; unmindful of its future. The behemoth of the deep moves to history, and all but one of those inside look forward to its arrival and eventual retirement. That one knows more than the rest; he knows that Dragonet has more to do and what that mission will be. He controls Dragonet and uses it for a cause passed to him by others that have little care for Dragonet’s history—they only care for what it can do as it dies.

The mindless warrior slows as it begins its careful ascension toward the surface. The Masters inside listen intently to the water that surrounds it lest another denizen of the water come to close, endangering it.

The United States Ship (SSN-775) Dragonet is coming up from the deep and to its final mission.


CHAPTER ONE

 

“CONN, SONAR, there are no contacts close aboard.”

“SONAR, CONN, Aye.”

“ESM, CONN,”

“CONN, ESM, no close contacts.”

“ESM, CONN, Aye.”

LCDR Robert abu Saliemen walks the periscope around, surveying the grey water and lightening overcast skies; he decides and calls out, “Diving Officer, maintain your head and surface the ship. Chief of the Watch, set the maneuvering watch.”

LTjg Cummins acknowledges the captain, “Maintain my head and surface the boat, aye.” Leaning forward from his bench, he instructs the helm and planesman.

The master chief responds, “Set the maneuvering watch, aye.”

The orders are those that have been given thousands of times throughout the world and its many seagoing nations since the first submarine, the USS Holland, and for over one hundred years. Trained crews respond automatically to such orders without any thought, for hesitation in the sub service is death.

As preparations continue for surfacing, LCDR Saliemen turns the periscope over to the Navigator, who states, “Officer of the Deck, I relieve you.”

Saliemen responds, “I stand relieved. The Navigator has the CONN.” He steps down from the periscope stand and retreats to his stateroom behind the SINS binnacle. It will be a while before they make their way up the Hudson into the New York City waters and there is time for him to relax before he moves into the conning tower to oversee their approach. As he settles into his desk chair, he hears the bustle of the crew moving from their at sea stations to their maneuvering watch stations. Over the 1MC, the COW calls the crew to Field Day—an all hands, other than those on watch, sprucing up of the boat for their arrival and the dignitaries and visitors that will come aboard.

One of the mess hands has brought a silver pot of tea expecting his relief from duty and he pours the light liquid into the porcelain cup on the tray. Robert “Bob” abu Saliemen sips the hot light flavored tea and reflects on the dawning day. Submarines’ design allows smooth passage beneath the waves and because of the drag of the water on the surface, there is tedium in surfacing and maneuvering a submarine into a busy waterway. The design of the exaggerated bullet-nose helps water pass over and around it and increase the speed of the ship as the water moves through the screws; and not meant to slice the waves as a surface ship’s bow does. Today’s cruise on the surface would be smoother than most because of the calm wave action he noted as they prepared to surface. All submariners know the pounding the sub takes when surfacing in any storm or deep swells, and they all hate it. A submarine on the surface is little more than a bobbing, rolling vessel under power and most submariners are the worst surface sailors in any Navy, as seasickness is decidedly more prevalent. When submerged, there is almost no movement other than the vibration the machinery and engine produces –seldom is their world other than one sitting in one’s home. But as a submarine rises closer to the surface, wave action can be felt somewhere between periscope depth and the surface, although sometimes it can be as deep as two hundred feet if there is a high numbered class storm.

The captain noted the slight roll and understood they were now on the surface. The speaker next to his built in desk announced orders for moving the CONN to the on-surface position high above the main deck in the sail. He sipped again at the tea and pulled his log book from its place to make note of the time and action taking place. Another tedium–long centuries have been annotated by all mariners as their various ships have made their way from one port to another. A Master’s sacred responsibility is not only to his ship, but foremost to the lives of his crew, and must note or record just about everything for reasons of documentation, for. His every decision and command is subject to intensive scrutiny if ever the ship is placed in harms way and damaged; whether in time of war or peace. Those that ply the waters of the Earth are led by Captains and they give their lives into their care and direction. It is a fine line for most sailors who readily trust those put in place to command, it’s even more so on submarines for their smaller crews and the inherent danger in its operation. Much is made of the surface fleet mockery of submariners, “Why would you want to sink a perfectly good ship?”

The answer, “To find perfectly good targets.” To submariners there are only two kinds of ships: submarines and targets; and they are a prideful bunch of men that learn and train to live upon and control the undersea vessels.

 Saliemen initials the entry he just made and almost blindly returns the log book to its place; his gaze fixes on the framed pictures on the shelf next to that place where also stands his Qur’an.

Four pictures tell the story of his life. The class picture from his Naval Academy graduation; and the one of he and his best friend at their commissioning, their arms draped around the other’s shoulder, wide and bright smiles on their faces. The third is his wedding party picture, the same friend standing to his left, his best man; and the fourth, the latest picture of his family taken only four months before. He stands next to his wife with their two children—a son and younger daughter—at their feet, it’s a casual setting unlike all the others where he is in uniform.

There is a detachment he notes as he looks at the pictures, as if he has already divorced himself from that life. He feels the shamed pride of that history, but pushes it down so it doesn’t conflict with his mission. His whole life, the teachings of his father, the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, the academic study of his youth and early adulthood, and further study to become a commanding naval officer, has brought him to this time and place.

He takes the Qur’an from its place and holds it reverently. He caresses the leather cover as one would a lover’s skin—he holds his future in his hands and wills himself to think of his studies and the promises contained in the passages. He cares nothing for some of the promises told to him—they aren’t in the book—he believes in the words the Prophet gave to mankind for achieving Paradise.

A knock at his stateroom door interrupts his reverie, and places the book back on the shelf.

“Come,” he answers the knock.

The second-class radioman opens the door and hands the Captain a clipboard, “Captain, here is the latest traffic. There are order confirmations and instructions on top with the other disseminating traffic for your approval.”

“Fine, give me a few and I’ll have them ready for delivery,” he responds.

The radioman shuts the door and Saliemen flips through the papers noting the subject of each. Mostly mundane U.S. Naval pulp work—the thousands of trees sacrificed to military communications down through the centuries stand testament to the redundancy of need. He initials each document as he reads, makes notes to the division officers as needed for clarification and keeps the last message page. He leans sideways and opens the door—the radioman turns back to the opening to receive the clipboard from the Captain, asking “Anything special, Captain?”

“Nope, just the usual. Please deliver as required.” He doesn’t release his hold on the clipboard. “Is the internet up?”

“Yessir, you should be able to get on when you want.”

“Thanks, Robson.” He releases the clipboard and the sailor spins away to deliver the traffic messages.

Saliemen leaves the door alone for the moment, listening to the activity in the control room just outside. The stateroom’s location is convenient but it’s a curse. There is no isolating insulation in the control room’s shared wall and though he sleeps with his head on the end away from the wall, he always hears much of the conversations as he drifts off to sleep. Long ago he acquired the ability to shut the noise out, but the voices always came through. He supposed it was his punishment for being the commanding officer of the ship.

The voices today are light and casual. There is talk of who is going where and what there is to do when they dock and once released for liberty. He looks at the paper he kept and pulls out his laptop, opens it and waits for it to synchronize to the ship’s intranet.

As soon as he had the connection, he sends an e-mail confirming the message’s subject, authorizing the recipient to proceed with reservations and arrangements.

Next he quickly types out a brief communication to his wife,

Syl,

Surfaced. Arriving 1230 Navy Pier. Hotel Confirmed.

C’ya soon,

Bob

His brief syntax was old habit, he had never mastered the longhand capacity of emails, it was the training to be concise and conserve words in message transmissions from the old days. Back then when radio traffic, especially from submarines, was intermittent and quick—as the longer you stayed at periscope depth the better chance of detection, and detection could be damaging to the safety of the ship. Those days were gone, but training and operations still warranted some of the old steadfast rules and he obliged. He also knew his wife was used to his messages, of course the emails he received from her were more letters than messages; still he knew she would be appreciative of his even sending the brief words.

Technology had changed so much, even how the Navy performed many procedures, but there were still the SOPs that hadn’t changed in the last sixty years; and those that hadn’t were almost always for security reasons. Back in the day, he would have never confirmed his ships movement. He had little to worry now as just about everything leaked or posted to the internet; and Dragonet was no longer a threat to anyone in a military sense.

They had left the yards four days before, after stripping most of the warlike abilities from the ship. It no longer had any fire-control equipment or weapons, the classified crypto and electronic gear was gone. There were empty equipment bays throughout the ship evidence of its rape; and still more would be stripped after its decommissioning and before its permanent docking as some museum. Dragonet would be lucky in that regard; saved from the eventual disassembly that many other ships he had served on had met as their fate. Silversides, his first ship, was nothing but a memory for those that had served on her–she was no more; other than the reclaimed scrap melted down and forged into parts for another ship.

They had moved the ship from Newport News shipyards to a sub pier in Norfolk, and then only for a day to take on supplies in preparation for the two day transit to New York for the Fleet Week celebrations. Dragonet would take part in the festivities with her decommissioning with all the pomp and circumstance due her record. At the same ceremony, Saliemen would receive his gold oak leaf in promotion to Commander as well as his orders to take command of the newest Seawolf class submarine in Charleston. He had been the XO of Dragonet before the yard work and took command when the Navy promoted the CO to full four bar Captain and moved to COMSUBLANT as a division head for the Admiral. So his first true and sole command was to take the ship up the coast, dock it and leave it; but he reflected, a command was a command and it worked well for his ultimate mission. He knew he would never again set foot on any other deck of a ship as Commanding Officer. In fact, later this day, the deck he commanded now would be the last deck he would ever walk in this life.

To continue ask in comments below or email me and I’ll forward the First Chapters for you; and if you’ll give some input on the story, characters, etc. I’ll send more. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.