June 26th, 2010


Navy SEAL attending USNA and Having Dependents/Avoiding a Hardship Discharge

Place/time frame: US, ca. 2011-2039, approx, but let's just go with modern day.

Terms searched:"SEAL training", "SEAL rates" "SEAL enlistment" "SEAL officer", USNA, SEAL + USNA, STA-21, hardship discharge, death of a family member + Navy, Family Care Plan, NROTC, and much more, including: Navy.mil and various undersites. Navy.com. Military.com. The About.com military pages. Forums for parents with enlisted children. Forums for colleges. Blogs. Wiki. LJ.

Character enlists at 18, goes through BUD/S and all the rest of the training and receives his SEAL trident.

First of all, if he enlists and goes through BUD/S instead of basic training (I read this was possible?), he would still be an E-1, yes? But then I read somewhere else that SEALs who have completed all their SEAL training are actually E-4s. So what rank would he have? Or is this because SEAL training takes so long and requires certain qualifications a normal E-1 wouldn't have?

Secondly, the officer commission: to become an officer, he needs an undergraduate degree. I'm torn between the USNA and STA-21. I'm leaning more towards USNA for a couple of reasons that help my plot.

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My third question/scenario: As a first classman, he gets his girlfriend pregnant. I read that while he cannot be accepted to the USNA as a parent, if he becomes a parent during his time there, he needs to confess it and either withdraw, take a year off or receive a waiver. Is it possible for him to deny the waiver at first, and then request one? His girlfriend/fiance dies, leaving him with the baby, and he does not take her death well at all. She also happens to die right around finals. Could/would they make him take the year off? Or if he manages to finish his finals, can they just delay his commission for a few months? If he's pretty much weeks away from graduating, having to wait an entire year would suck.

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My fourth question is less complicated. How easy/hard would it be for a Navy officer with technically no official business, to get onto the USNA grounds? Would he be able to sneak in and make it to someone's room room without being stopped and asked what he was doing?

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Any help is appreciated! I have so many questions and it seems as if every time I figure out one, five more come to mind...

childhood to teen/adult

 Hi! This is my first time posting in this community.

Setting: 2003-2010 (story takes place in the present) ; America

I was tinkering of an idea where the character has some sort of disease in her early childhood, but recovers from it through surgery or whatnot. Then when she is an teen or an adult several years later she gets into a relapse of the same disease, but this time she has a lower life expectancy and isn't expected to live very long. I was wondering if anyone knows some sort of disease that has this characterization? I tried googling, but I got nothing that I wanted. I was thinking maybe leukemia...?

Thank you for your help.

Details of a sailing ship keel

I've googled on 'parts of a ship', 'keel', 'stem', and  'stem to stern', but nothing has quite given me the level of detail I need.

I've got (in my story anyway)  an 80-foot, 2 masted topsail schooner made of Bermuda teak and the current date is 1800. The vessel was probably built some thirty to forty years earlier. She's a privateer, so been through the wars a bit, but she's shipshape.

She's got a shallow draft, so there's only the main (open) deck and one level below, which is basically the hold with the captain's tiny cabin in the stern and a few partitions to form compartments for (say) the powder magazine

My question is this:

If the keel of a ship is the spine that 'joins' the two halves, and the stem is the bit that joins the bows, where exactly does the keel stop being a keel and the stem start being a stem, or is the stem still technically part of the keel right up as far as the bowsprit?

I need to describe and name that bit of structural timber which curves up from the keel and becomes the stem. The point at which I have to get into some detail is the point at which it becomes visible as it rises up through the lower deck timbers into the hold. i.e. the lower deck floor right in the pointy bit. To labour a point in the interests of clarity... if you went into the hold and lay face down on the deck with your head as far into the pointy end as you could push it, the top of your head would be touching this bit of timber,

So at that point is it the keel or the stem? Or does it have some other name I haven't come across yet?

For a bonus point (if we're scoring) can anyone give me any idea of what kind of paint would be used in this period and whether that specific bit of timber would be likely to have been painted or tarred or left untreated.

Many thanks. This is for a fantasy novel ('Between Wind and Water') in the very last stages of polishing. It's going to my agent on Monday morning.

Llama information

I am writing a short story taking place in the 2008-2009ish time period (recent).  It's about a character who is running from the police.

The specific scene I need help with is where the character climbs a fence into the Lake Tobias Animal Park (I believe that's the name of it.  It's outside of harrisburg).  Anywho, I'm considering him climbing onto one of the Llamas there and using it to escape.  I kno wit's probably unlikely that somebody would choose a llama but it's supposed to be humorous so...

Anyways, I need to know mainly two things:

How fast can a Llama run and if people are allergic to them.

I googled things like: how fast can llamas run, llama speed, allergic to llamas, and for wikipedia I just used 'llama'.  None of the articles I found satisfied my need.

I found this article but it was very opinion-based and not very helpful.

Falconry in feudal/Edo era Japan

I have a character who is a noble in an expy of feudal/Edo Japan (canon is never quite clear on this). He's quite a high-ranking noble and the head of his family. While trying to think of a sport that he could plausibly entertain himself with, I wondered about the possibility of falconry.

Research: googled 'japan falconry' - the links I clicked on were either in Japanese or painful Engrish. Looked at the Wikipedia page for falconry, which led me to takagari.

Reading the article it seems that falconry was once a popular pastime for local lords, court nobles and samurai. However it also says that this was later restricted to daimyo and the samurai class and strict rules were implemented as to who could hunt what. In this world samurai and daimyo don't exist, and so officers of the ruling military force fill their place in the social strata.

It doesn't, however, tell me what these rules were.

1) The character is the head of one of the four greatest noble families as well as a powerful military officer. He's equivalent, in my stories, to the most powerful and high-ranking samurai. What birds of prey would he be allowed to use for the hunt, that would set him apart from lower ranking nobles and officers?

2) The main prey in takagari is birds - geese, ducks and swans - according to the article. Am I right in assuming that my character would be permitted to hunt swans due to his rank? Were ground animals - rabbits, hares, etc - ever hunted in Japan using this method? What about other game birds - grouse, pheasant, etc?

3) One piece of information that I managed to glean from one of the other sites is that dogs and horses were used. I assume the hunting noble is mounted, which would account for the horses. Would the dogs be the falconry equivalent of gun dogs, flushing prey out of hiding so it can be hunted?

4) How long would a typical hunt take? What would be done with the meat of any kills? Eaten or discarded?

5) Any other details would be nice, if you know them.

Mac vs PC fact check

I'm contemplating a character who is a bit (understatement) of a nerd. Hardison in Leverage/ Willow in early Buffy level nerd (though this is not a fanfic).

The thing I'm wondering is that I have read stories where this type of characters is typically shown using Macs and related jargon. Though my character is from the US, I'm from Ireland. I'm a CS/Classics student and most of my friends are computer nerds. None of us would go to the Mac lab unless we have to.

Is this a US thing? Are Macs prefered by nerds/cheaper over there compared to PCs? Or is it a factually inacurate stereotype?

ETA: 18 hrs and 55 comments later, I'm blown away by how many people answered. Thank you all so much. in_vino_vanitas seems to have bundled consensus by saying Linux for real nerds, Macs for design nerds, PC for gamers but there are always going to be different computers for different people. As well as this many have pointed out Mac is often seen on TV purely because of product placement, and a lot of nerds build their own PC.