I am sitting in the AT/AE/AO (called AV/ARM for Avionics and Armament,) shop when I hear that we have a new AT1 coming into the squadron. Thinking that this one has to be worse than the current despotic boob I am working for the only thing I can do at the time is sigh, walk back outside to fight more of the ongoing Vietnam against corrosion. We're constantly taking it apart, cleaning it, and putting it back together. For some strange reason, I expected that as an aviation electronics technician I would be doing more aviation electronics type labor versus the aviation janitorial work than I am currently doing. Jack and I talk about the new AT1 in not so nice terms mainly involving heavy use of superlatives not mentioned in polite conversation. Something along the lines of bone yodeler, moron, fuckhead. You get the idea.
About a week later a slightly large Caucasian man with close-cropped gray hair encased in the prison blue dungaree uniform we all wear is sitting in the shop. This is the new AT1, on first look he appears to be a reasonable sort of cat. This is probably the smartest thing that I have ever come up with.
Some months later Rancid_Pickle and I are sitting in front of his house discussing something that went wrong with the aircraft, thus causing me a considerable amount of frustration. This typically happens when I find something that is out of the ordinary. I spend a few hours banging my head against the radar (there was the time when everything rotated backwards,) or the ADS (damn data bus terminations,) or the BRU-14A bomb racks and the ancient ASQ-165 (racks won't unlock,) armament system. Then there was the constant radar altimeter warning tone that varied with pitch, frequency, and timing depending on which lighting rheostat you turned up or down. Turn the ATO instrument lights up and the thing goes boop, boop, boop, turn the overhead console lights up and you get a much faster boop, boop, boop. Turn the pilot instrument lights up along with the secondary instrument panel lights and you get a peppy beep, beep, beep about four octaves higher than it should have been. That was a dinger. I kept telling them that it was the AFCS (automatic flight control system,) computer. They didn't listen which caused us to shoot wires for three days until someone finally did listen and it turned out that it was the AFCS computer after all. Pickle and I discussed this after the fact and came to the conclusion that my ranting and raving at maintenance control probably did nothing to convince them that I was at all in the right. He says this with the conviction of someone who was in and managed to survive the LAMPS Mk III Penalty Box, separate from the military and find a considerably better job. He also managed to save my ass from prosecution, teach me a huge amount of crap relating to avionics and generally provided me with a direction I was sorely lacking. All of this before getting out and continuing to be one of the best friends that I have had to this day.
He and I talk about a great number of things. Computer security is a favorite topic, along with anime, food, what is going on at work, what his kids are up to these days, my frustrations with the Navy, etc. Pickle and my former roommate Pheel, Velleity, Courtney, my brother Latent and I form a society of geeks that sit in what was once the greatest coffee house in all of San Diego. We consume coffee, we make a mockery of social issues, we acquire huge amounts of dead tech from various places and then proceed to fiddle with it over bowl sized cups of bean soup. This is good for awhile.
Eventually the six of us split and go our separate ways with the exception of Pickle and I who continue to consume huge amounts of coffee while I attempt to teach myself IP subnetting and other nuances of technology. During this time he helps with the process by pointing out where I am going wrong with one thing or another and providing a great deal of assistance with other problems.
Later on Pickle moves to Colorado while I am floating somewhere off of Japan, I come home and find that things are slightly different with him gone. Later on or tomorrow I will pick up the phone and begin whining about a Penguin missile rack that did not want to accept aircraft power. The conversation will run for a few minutes and then I have a few questions about RF theory for him, after that we'll just babble on as we usually do with little or no apparent point. To this day, I know that I can still call and talk to him and find all of our history on the other end. Rancid_Pickle is my mentor, the editor of a vast majority of what I write, and most of all my friend.
LOOK KIDS! AN INSIDE JOKE!
Daewoo did not force me to write this. This node is not actually the work of one of their nefarious agents. I swear.
Another super-random nodeshell rescue.