The first version of my FTN website was back in 1996. That's a LONG time! This blog is meant to revive the joy that was once the great and wonderful FTN Website. I'll be making a weekly post from my archives and, of course, include new material as it comes in.

Have something to add? Send me a note: jtrelfa at gmail dot com

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ustafish Stories - yuck!

Some of the most annoying people I ever encountered were the people onboard that served on a different ship during a previous rotation.  Whenever *any* task was being performed; small valve maintenance, sweeping the floor, taking a dump; these people had a story to tell about it.  What's worse is that you knew it was coming and were usually powerless to stop it.  How did you know?  Because every single story started with "Back when I was on the <name of ship>, we used to ... ".  I've highlighted the 'used to' portion because it was always pronounced useta (yooo stuh).  This is where the term ustafish comes from.

For those of you still in the service that haven't quite tasted the sweet, chocolaty  goodness of freedom, don't worry.  Ustafish stories still happen in the corporate world.  Only in civilian life, there's a darker meaning.  Ustafish stories take on 2 flavors.  The first flavor is what you'd expect... "Back when I worked for <name of company>, we used to ...".  The other form of the story - the more dark and nefarious flavor - is when the ustafish story is used to give the storyteller some sort of elevated status to the newer employees.  This is often a way to try and make the idealistic employees feel like they don't know what they're talking about:
New Employee: "Wow, maybe a wireless router would be easier than dragging your own CAT5 cable to the conference room."
Usatafish:"We used to think it that would be helpful, but discovered that acute traces of radon coming from the floor prevented a good signal.  There's a memo about it on the shared drive - I guess you didn't read it?"
Good times...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Big Daddy

"They have better ho's overseas"

--Big Daddy
when asked why he was skipping shore duty to go on a world cruise on the Nimitz

Monday, August 18, 2008


NUB:(nub). Non Useful Body:
A humanoid lifeform that consumes air, food, and a pit in berthing. Considered by most to be a waste of human flesh. Nubs are able to show their worth when they start supporting the watchbill; although feed pump watch qualification is barely sufficient to get out of nub status.

Skills: Painting, taking out the trash, small valve maintenance, anything mundane
Known enemies: All qualified watchstanders
Leading cause of injury: doing anything other than getting qualified

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Check please?

You go to a restaurant. The food is terrible, the service is worse, and the place is filthy. You vow to never go there again.

For some reason, some of the people at the restaurant think the opposite. They ignore the dirty spoons, the cockroaches, and the horrible food. They actually seem to *enjoy* it. In fact, they keep coming back over and over and over again to this crappy, terrible restaurant. They even go so far as to claim, "There aren't any other good restaurants out there - this is the best one."

For most of us, our time 'in' was like this restaurant. For the lifers, it's the best damned eating establishment they can ever imagine.

The best thing to say?

"Check, please!"

Monday, July 28, 2008


Part of my original site had a list of things you can do if waiting until EAOS was taking too long. I'm publishing these under a "HOW TO" tag - we'll see how this turns out. Without further ado, here's the first way to get out early - pee the bed!

I <blush> Peed the bed!

It sounds pretty disgusting, but peeing the bed is considered a medical problem that requires discharge! Here's what you do:
Wet the bed at erratic, but frequent intervals. Make sure you report to medical every time this occurs. You'll be out in no time!'s that easy

Monday, July 21, 2008

(in)Significant - but Significant events

One of the things I often noticed was how totally insignificant events were made into the biggest event that ever happened. One of the best examples is "seeing a hot chick". To most of us (I hope) noticing an attractive woman is just part of day-to-day life. In the Navy, however, it's a pretty fucking big deal:

Horny Sailor 1: "Hey! Did you SEE that HOT CHICK!!?!?!"
Horny Sailor 2: "Yeah...she was HOT!"
Horny Sailor 1: "But..her body was SOOO HOT!!"
Horny Sailor 2: "Umm..I was there, too...she was pretty hot"
Horny Sailor 1: "Whoa...she was so hot".
Horny Sailor 2: "I'll take a pitcher of beer with 1 glass please"
Horny Sailor 1: "Make that 2"
Bartender: "2 glasses?"
Horny Sailor 1: "No...2 pitchers with 1 glass each"
Horny Sailor 1: "Remember that HOT CHICK we saw?"

Monday, July 14, 2008

You might be a "shipmate"

"Shipmate"...I hate that word and the whole concept of it. "Shipmate" is only used when you're in trouble or someone is trying to be rude. I think the original concept of it was for us to "bond together" as a crew, not be assholes. So I've compiled a list of things that could mean you are a "shipmate":

You might be a "Shipmate" if...

  • you scream out to the guy in front of you "Hey, Shipmate" even though his name is written across his ass
  • you scream "Hey, Shipmate!" to the guy in front of you when his name ISN'T written across his ass and proceed to shit all over him for it
  • you think you're "helping" by reporting all divisional problems to the "boss" (chief or above) to receive input on how to fix the problems
  • a backpack on someone's shoulder means something to you
  • you actually READ the "All Hands" magazine rather than just grab a few for when you're out of toilet paper
  • you wear camouflage and you're in the navy
  • you think a counseling chit is a useful tool vice a punishment
  • you get offended if someone has a PAPERCLIP attached to their uniform
  • you are only friends with people that have the same sized nest under their crow...or bigger
  • whenever asked to perform some mundane task, your first impulse is to find someone with fewer stripes
  • it is more important to you to have a clean, pressed working uniform than actually soil it doing work
  • other people do your work for you
  • you are always the first person in line for food
  • you want to be president of the First Class Association
  • you have military creases on your dungarees
  • you wear the title of "Lifer" proudly

Monday, July 7, 2008

Week off for the 4th.

I didn't post this week because of the 4th (I know - lame excuse). Check back next Monday for some more FTN goodness :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

100 Reasons McDonald's is better than the Navy

Another classic from the archives. The original list was a joint effort by a lot of disgruntled sailors. I'll try and link to the weird terminology. (I wonder if I should have a 'glossary' page?)
  1. No McORSE
  2. If you have to take a piss, you can go take a piss. No questions asked.
  3. You'll never have to go port and starboard on the fryer.
  4. Better pay.
  5. The sun.
  6. The boxes of food at McDonald's aren't stamped "Rejected by Hardee's" or "Not fit for human consumption".
  7. The ability to call in sick.
  8. The ability to quit.
  9. McDonald's doesn't get their uniforms from the same company as the state penitentiary.
  10. McDonald's doesn't deploy.
  11. They have actual janitors.
  12. No McDrills.
  13. The grill breaks, you CALL someone to fix it.
  14. At least your boss accepts that he's a clown.
  15. No McResin Discharge.
  16. No all night hydro on the fryer.
  17. One word: overtime.
  18. Every day is slider day!
  19. At McDonald's, you will never, EVER, worry about being put in prison for ten years because you told your wife what the secret sauce is.
  20. They pay you for training.
  21. You'll never die a horrible, excruciating death from the crush depth implosion of a McDonald's.
  22. No steam piping.
  23. No time at McDonald's will you hear your boss give a thirty minute dissertation over the P.A. on the importance of being at the register 15 minutes early.
  24. They won't ask you about Taco Bell operations on the advancement test.
  25. You get to leave work EVERY day at the end.
  26. McDonald's will eventually fire the really stupid employees.
  27. two words: Happy Meals.
  28. McDonald's doesn't look like a big black turd
  29. Grimace don't do Vulcan Death Watches.
  30. McDonald's has a slide out back.
  31. To do something at McDonald's, you look at the color coded chart, not OP umpty-squat, chapter whatever, reference 3, ACN B, rev 17.
  32. If McDonald's catches fire, you LEAVE.
  33. No McSmall Valve Maintenance.
  34. No McCOB.
  35. Leaving McDonald's in an emergency doesn't require a Steinke hood and a lot of praying.
  36. The coffee's better.
  37. Someone else makes the water.
  38. You don't have to live there to work there.
  39. The only cones come from the ice cream machine.
  40. McDonald's doesn't go into drydock
  41. ALL the tests are multiple choice.
  42. Their TV commercials are a lot cooler.
  43. Three words: Sea Foam Green.
  44. Stock in McDonald's is worth something.
  45. The Nav is a part of an operation that is 6 trillion dollars in the hole.
  46. Special sauce isn't "hand made".
  47. No McBilges to clean.
  48. Opening for business doesn't require a full day of preparations and everyone to show up for a brief at 2:30 am.
  49. Three words: Stupid ass hats.
  50. Personnel inspection requirements are written on the door. (No shirt, no shoes, no service)
  51. At McDonald's, dislocating your shoulder is not considered getting the good deal.
  52. McDonald's never had an accident that cause a person to be stuck to the ceiling impaled on a french fry. (ie. No Mc-SL1)
  53. Because you deserve a break today.
  54. Even the little Hamburglar is cooler than a goat.
  55. Mayor McCheese doesn't wield a righteous thumb of indignation.
  56. You can choose which McDonald's you want to work at.
  57. If you want to buy your boss a beer, that's okay.
  58. If you want to tell your boss to fuck off and just die fucking die, that's okay too.
  59. There is no Uniform Code of McDonald's Justice to deal with.
  60. The news comes from USA Today, not Ric Crawford, GS-12.
  61. No one will rack you out at 2 in the morning to start the grill.
  62. Chances of you getting called back after you get off work are pretty damn slim.
  63. Putting the pickle on the hamburger doesn't require an QA-34 and a signature to be used against you in a court of law, should they want you.
  64. The only guy in a silly yellow suit is Ronald.
  65. How many McDonald's were sunk in W.W.II?
  66. Fixing the register doesn't require a rubber room and a rope man.
  67. Nothing on the menu contains the phrases, "Horse cock" or "baboon ass".
  68. At McDonald's, the riders would have to leave at closing time.
  69. $2.99 is a meal price, not a daily wage at McDonald's.
  70. You don't have to go single register operations if someone spills a Coke.
  71. McDonald's doesn't require a 24 hour Shutdown Register Operator and McRoving Watch.
  72. McDonald's doesn't call your house at 5:30 in the morning blaring some god-awful atiquated song about a bugler just to wake you up.
  73. No McRadcon.
  74. At McDonald's, your boss will never make you drive him around for two and a half months so he can spy on Wendy's.
  75. You will never be locked in for 24 hours pretending to operate everything. (ie no McFastcruise)
  76. You don't have to come in to work at 7:00 only to wait around for an hour waiting for your boss to tell you things you already know.
  77. At McDonald's you will never hear, "Shake machine troubleshooting team, and all off watch drinkmakers, lay aft."
  78. No McGMT.
  79. At McDonald's you don't have to route a 1250 for a new stack of cups
  80. If you burn a hamburger they won't take away half a month's pay for two months and restrict you to the playground.
  81. Knowledge of the material of construction and variable operating characteristics of the grill are not prerequisites for operation.
  82. You don't have to take apart the shake machine once a quarter just because.
  83. You don't have to share your bed with two coworkers.
  84. You don't have to shave off your goatee when the district manager comes.
  85. At McDonald's, when the toilet clogs, you don't rig pressurized air to the shitter.
  86. You don't have to shut everything off and call in the last shift to start the grill.
  87. Early in the morning, you don't cycle the drink machine on and off just for practice.
  88. You scrub the floors because it's dirty, not because it's Wednesday
  89. There is almost always plenty of parking. If not, drive through.
  90. Don't like what you got? Take it back.
  91. You don't have to take a turbidity prior to putting a new catsup dispenser on service.
  92. Failure of the warming oven door to open is not a panic causing event. It will also not preclude you from starting another fryer or pulling the fries out of the vat due to interlock.
  93. No Mc-HPACs.
  94. No one hates it so bad they refer to it simply as "The Mac".
  95. No 16 hour days at McDonald's prototype making burgers in the middle of the desert for no one.
  96. If you wipe up a catsup spill at McDonald's, you don't have to let it dry before you throw it away.
  97. They won't secure one of the register operators to keep track of the people going into Burger King.
  98. You don't have to have permission from the Manager, Assistant Manager, and Register Operator before going into the freezer.
  99. At McDonald's, the toilet paper stays in the bathroom, not on the dinner table.
  100. ALL of the of the Constitution applies to you at McDonald's

Monday, June 23, 2008

Things to do at home to simulate shipboard life

This was probably the most popular page on the original FTN site. I think that's why it's fitting to make it the first post on my new blog. The text is straight from the archives; I'll start linking some of the terms so the non-navy folks can better understand some of the lingo.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be in the Navy, but you just don't feel like enlisting? I've got you covered! Here are a few things you can do in your own home to simulate what its like on the ship!

  • Run all of the piping and wires in your house on the OUTSIDE of the walls
  • Pump 10 inches of oily water into your basement then...
  • Pump it out, clean it up, and paint it red
  • Every couple of weeks, dress up in your best clothes. Wear them around the house for about 20 minutes, then change again.
  • Pay triple the cost of a crappy imported beer at your favorite bar and get totally smashed. Find a cab and tell him to take the longest way possible back to your house. Tip him $50
  • Perform an annual disassemble and inspect on your lawn mower
  • Jack your water heater up to about 275 degrees
  • Raise your bed to within about 7 inches of your ceiling. Place a small dead animal under the bed to simulate the smell of your bunkmate
  • Use a police siren as your alarm clock. The optimum choice is one that randomly plays police whistles, fire alarms, and/or bomb explosions when it goes off
  • Have your mother-in-law make you stand in the back yard at 6 a.m. and read you the paper
  • Eat chili and spicy mexican food for three days straight then lock up the bathroom (for cleaning) for a 12 hour period
  • Submit a form formally asking permission from your father-in-law to take your wife out for dinner
  • Board up all of your doors and windows then invite 200 of your not-so-closest friends to come live with you. Good choices are those that fart, belch, snore, smell bad, and have personal hygiene problems. An added bonus are ones that can say F%^K more times in one sentence than a stuttering whore.
  • Share a shower stall with the above mentioned friends
  • Make your family qualify to operate all of the appliances in your house (ex. "Dishwasher Operator" and "Dryer Tech")
  • Walk around your car for 6 hours checking the tire pressure every 15 minutes
  • Sit in your car and let it run for 4 hours before going anywhere
  • Empty all of the garbage cans in your house 4 times a day (empty or not, the can still needs a new bag)
  • Paint (inside and out) your entire house every 2 months
  • Cook all of your food in the dark, blindly groping for any spice or seasoning you can get your hands on. Eat everything in 3 minutes.
  • Periodically shut off all power at the main circuit breaker to your house and run around shouting "Fire! fire! fire!" and then restore power.
  • Have your neighbor collect all of your mail, hold it for at LEAST 3 weeks, randomly losing every fifth piece
  • Spend $40 MILLION on satellite TV, but only use two channels
  • Have your 6 year old epileptic cousin give you a hair cut with goat shears
  • Sew back pockets to the front of your pants
  • Use eau de ass-funk as your new cologne/air freshener
  • Wait until you have an intestinal infection, then lock up the bathroom for two weeks
  • Spend two weeks in the red-light districts of every major city in the orient without your family and call it "world travel"
  • Unplug all all radios and TVs to completely cut yourself off from the outside world. Have a neighbor bring you tapes of sporting events that happened a year ago. Also have them bring copies of Time, Newsweek, or Proceedings from two years ago to keep you abreast of current events.
  • Listen to your favorite CD 6 times a day for several weeks, then play music that causes acute nausea until you are glad to get back to your favorite CD.
  • Needle gun the aluminum siding on your house as soon as everyone in your neighborhood goes to bed.
  • When your family is in bed, turn up the TV and shout at the top of your lungs into a megaphone.
  • Call the EPA when your mother-in-law spills casserole on your kitchen floor
  • Turn off all the lights in your house then rock back and forth, to and fro until you throw up. then stop
  • Refer to all women as "chicks"
  • Watch nature shows that portray animal mating habits and scream things like "take it up the ass!" and "go for it" as loud as you can at the TV.
  • Stand at the end of your driveway in sub-zero temperatures just in case someone comes over to visit. This is to ensure that only "authorized" visitors come to your house.
  • Every time you want a midnight snack, get some stale crackers and warm, watery kool-aid
  • Vent your septic tank into your bathroom
  • Replace all the jets in your carburetor using a 3 lb. ball peen hammer and an 18" pipe wrench
  • Eat all of your meals with a serving ladle and a dirty fork
  • Buy only powdered eggs and try to cook them over easy and sunny side up
  • Knock over a cup of coffee on the floor at about 3:00 am and make your family rope off the kitchen while you tape garbage bags over your body to clean up the spill
  • Open all of your boxes of cereal and store for 3 months before using
  • Throw away your phone and buy a $2000 ham radio, then allow no one to use it because you must maintain radio silence
  • Wash all of your sheets at once so you have to sleep on a bare bed while they hang out to dry
  • Buy a gas mask and smear it with rancid animal fat. Scrub the face shield with steel wool until you can no longer see out of it. Wear this for two hours once a week while you pretend to look for fires in your basement.
  • Occasionally run your blender at the extremes of it's tolerances for cyclic maintenance. Aftwards, disassemble it and replace all moving parts.
  • Check the fluid level in your car's radiator. Check the tire pressure and replace air lost from excessive pressure checks. Be sure to hang a red tag on the ignition stating "DANGER: DO NOT OPERATE" while you perform these checks. Inform your neighbor as to the results of these checks. Make sure you have him repeat back everything you say VERBATIM.
    • Example:
    • You: "Tire Pressure...35 pounds"
    • Neighbor: "The pressure in your..."
    • You: "WRONG!!!, I said 'Tire Pressure...35 pounds. Try again!"