Arts and Entertainment

Laugh at yourself... or he'll do it for you

Check out “Hey, Shipwreck” online at www.tubedaze.com. - Courtesy Photo/Tube Daze Productions
Check out “Hey, Shipwreck” online at www.tubedaze.com.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo/Tube Daze Productions

If it weren’t for the response to his animated movie short series “Hey, Shipwreck,” Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Hrabe, a navigations electronics technician, probably wouldn’t still be in the Navy.

He joined ranks in 2000, planning to serve his time to pay for school, get a degree and go on to a real job. But underneath that real-world driven surface, he’d always had a knack for graphic design and a dream of developing his own business around it.

“When I joined the Navy, I pretty much completely gave up on my art career,” Hrabe said. “But then once I got in and settled and everything I found I had time to start drawing again.”

“Hey, Shipwreck,” a series of bluntly stated, side-splitting, inside jokes developed from his Navy experiences — which you can watch the first season of online at www.tubedaze.com — just kind of happened, he said.

Some years ago during one series of “tube days” — a sailors’ term for the last 24 days of a Trident submarine’s patrol during which they usually put up some sort of pin-up girl or other exciting post on the missile tubes to count down the days — Hrabe posted one of his sketched comic strips about a super hero named Major Moral who would go around doing all he could to cheer people up, but usually ended up failing comically.

And his fellow sailors dug it.

“Some folks came up to me and said that the comic strip was what they looked forward to,” Hrabe noted.

That comic strip evolved over time into Tube Daze Productions and this animated series of You-Tube shorts which Hrabe writes and creates during his nights off-duty. They feature futuristic, space-suit-wearing Navy patrollers, going about their every day experiences, replete with razzing rapport, mindless banter, sailor lingo and the watch that’s “never gonna end.”

“I make fun of the Navy quite a bit, I’m a pretty cynical guy,” Hrabe said. “But it’s worth putting up with all the B.S. and the bureaucracy and all of that because of the people I work with.”

Those people — some of whom are undoubtedly represented in the series — have responded with support and bonded with him through the series.

“If I hadn’t made the cartoon and gotten so much good feedback from the sailors, I probably wouldn’t be in the Navy right now,” he noted. “Now, because I’ve got this kind of bond to Navy sailors, I want to stay in for the next 12 years until I retire.”

Hrabe said the only real negative feedback he’s received has come from jaded sailors, who were at first attracted to his cynicism, but now criticize him for staying in the service. (It should be noted that one of the more popular characters in “Hey, Shipwreck” is, of course, a jaded sailor.) Commanders, master chiefs, retired officers and other Navy-related folks he said, have loved it.

“It’s not anti-Navy, it’s not really pro-Navy, it’s just the truth based on my experience,” Hrabe said.

MEET PAT HRABE at the Kitsap Mall’s Center Court during Military Appreciation Day — March 29.

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