Ridin Dirty

So I’m trying something new on the blog. I travel a bit….sometimes very frequently (like the last 6 months) sometimes infrequently. But when I do I almost always end up with a different vehicle.

This week I scored a BMW 328i

Its interesting but I frankly don’t care for it. However, if you think it would be worth giving ya’ll a brief rundown of the car and what I think of them let me know. Keep in mind my daily driver is a full time 4×4 SUV thats almost 20 years old. So for me any car is a vastly different animal and road conditions are a far cry from what I deal with at home (theres a reason I have that SUV)

Anyway drop a note in the comments if this would be something you are interested in me doing.

 

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East Coast bound once again

So I’m traveling again this week. Will be the first time I try out 100% blogging via my mobile devices. I don’t blog via my work laptop for security reasons to both me and my employer and carrying two laptops frankly is just too much crap to be humping around an airport, with a lot of liability if something happens to either of them to work and school.

Given the outcome of the SuperBowl yesterday I’m debated declining to wear anything Volunteers related. I’m sure that some folks will consider me a traitorous bastard for that, but these trips are for business not pleasure and I need the folks in Charlotte a lot more than they need me.

Sherlock of the BSI knows when I am leaving, and when he seems my luggage almost immediately begins whining. A 100% daddies boy, I reckon. I haven’t blogged about them much since puppy hood but I’m thinking I will be more so in the near future.

Meanwhile given the amount of travel, and responsibility that has been placed on me in the last 6 months, combined with the amount of hours I’m working I have made the decision that its likely time I explore another employer.

To be clear, I like my job, I love my boss, I like my peers and I am fully cognizant that I may be trading the witch for the devil. However the fact is I need to be able to move up salary wise in my career and the raises they provide versus cost of living actually have me losing ground. Further the bonus program has not been what it used to be in years. My employers has good points and bad points like anyone else, again to be fair I have stayed with them longer than I have any civilian employer, and that was for a reason. But between my qualifications, my experience and frankly the work I have been doing I hate to sound greedy but I need more.

We’ll see what happens. Its not like I have a lot of time to go searching these days anyway.

Cocktails

WP_20160207_12_07_26_ProI like to experiment with making drinks. Often I discover that my concoction already has a name, once in a while I figure something that doesn’t have a title per se.

I call this one Peggy Carter. While the fictional Carter is more of a whiskey girl, gin is often attributed to the UK. The drink is tart, slightly sweet with some strength behind it so between that and the UK connection I thought it fitting for the name.

Making it is pretty simple

Peggy Carter

2 oz lemonade

1 oz tonic water

1 oz club soda

1 jigger gin

dash of grenadine

dash of sweet vermouth

stir and serve chilled

 

New age lessons

We play video games with our kid.

We don’t play MMO games, but we do play video games. Largely they are Co-op and of a RPG nature. We three sit down and make it a point to have fun together but just as important to me is that in playing those games we try to listen to each other, work together, and communicate.

So this from Penny Arcade really struck a chord for me, because it has happened with us. Its the digital equivalent of staying the night in jail or cleaning up your room, and whats more is its happened making it all the more funny.

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Friday reflection

Like everyone else in the world, I am always looking to improve myself. One thing I do, is I have been a semi practicing stoic for a while. No I’m not trying to resist pain, rather I try to wrest some kind of happiness from anything I can.

It’s hard for me because by nature (or by experience) I’m a cynic. While the two philosophical foundations have some base origins, the two have very different outlooks in the large scheme of things.

Anyway, I try to look back on the week and find solace where I can. When I do it’s sometimes….melancholy, something else I’m prone to upon occasion.

One way I have found that makes it easier is with music. Music has been a big focal for me for many years, so using it as a way to channel thoughts isn’t a stretch.

This one seemed applicable this morning. In many ways I think we are all praying for some form of rain, even if we aren’t necessarily practicing religions. Some want a better life, more money, peace, food, its a sobering reality that we often fail to look past our own doors at what goes on in the rest of the world.

Enjoy

Cat Skinning

Feh.

So my adventures in transcription for my research took a wheel in to the ditch. Turns out the new version I purchased cant be used for transcription. Go figure. Two pieces of the same software in a weeks time and neither of them do what I want despite what it says on the goddamn box.

But never fear. Improvisation is my middle name. Well not really but it will be tonight.

See the software won’t allow transcription, but it will allow dictation. So with the help of a shoe box, an Xbox 360 Rock Band microphone, and my digital audio recorder which can play MP3’s…..

  • I ported my interviews in to a MP3 format from WAV
  • Moved the files on to my digital recorder
  • Placed the recorder in to the shoe box with the microphone
  • Hooked the microphone up to my laptop
  • Closed the lid with just enough room to hit the recorder buttons
  • Then set Dragon to dictation mode and let the recorder do the work.

There were a couple of times the recorder out ran the word processor but over all it did what I needed it to do and turned 3 hours of transcription in to about 40 minutes of editing instead.

Its painful, but I will call it a win.

Residency

As if life weren’t complicated enough I have to try to complete two residencies this year for school.

Thats two weeks time I have to pay for the travel, hotel, food etc to go sit in a room to learn something that by all entire possibilities could be handled in another fashion. Basically its a pain in the ass. I get the fact its supposed to be a motivation builder, but frankly its annoying, inconvenient and problematic when trying to hold down a full time job.

For all attempts this should be my last year in my program provided I don’t either run out of money or burn out. The clock is ticking on all of the above.

Stress? What stress?

To Do list a mile long

Today is another busy day. I actually have to go to my office that I haven’t seen in the last month. I have to take care of my expenses there before my corporate card becomes personal debt.

Also I have to conduct two interviews today, both are for school and are part of a small scale project that is to mimic my dissertation.

I’m doing whats called a phenomenological study, or rather a study of the lived experiences of individuals in this information technology project managers. So I have a very small battery of questions to ask them and get their opinions, thoughts and verbal discourse of their experiences.

I have to record these interviews with the aforementioned digital recorder. Then I get to go home and transcribe all of it in to MS Word. Good times.

Thank god I have my own bar at home.

Bring the Rain

Those who know me, know

Those who know me, know

Its been a busy damn day. Did I manage to put that in the title? I did didn’t I.

After FB killed my account I had to improvise (If you need to know what my pseudonym was let me know, I’ll clear it up). Time to kick the mothballs off this place and give it a tune up.

So I got the website all updated. Got all the Analytic and other gibberish reconnected. Deleted a bunch of old garbage. Got twitter linked in to it (did I mention I have a Twitter account? You can reach me there as well)

Got some of the pages cleaned up. I decided that I wanted to keep what has been my Irish/March theme for many years as my permanent theme. The old red theme was good, and quasi-Victorian but under that theme the site had lain stagnant for a long time. It was time for a change and regrowth. So I swapped it all to the one you see now. Kind of symbolizes regrowth and new beginnings per se.

I’ve also chosen to not delete the blogroll. I know many of the links are dead. I don’t care. Let it stand in testament to what once, what could be, and what one day may be. If nothing else its a good measuring stick by how many of us are still doing this. Me? I’ve been doing this crap off and on since 1995. Not the oldest blogger, but damn near one of the oldest web writers.

V00d3w says he may be returning as well which should be cool. I just need to get a good Windows app for my phone so I can share lots of pictures of booze with all of you  as I adventure across the country.

Great thing about being on the website versus Facebook or some other 3rd party system is now we don’t have to pull any punches. With the exception of my employer, we can basically lay waste to anything and one out there with introspective, story telling and research.

I’ve managed to do more posting today than I have in a year. Gotten more comments in a day than I have in a year.

So tell your friends where I am. Let them know that the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.

It’s time to get away from the censorship and Cat Meme’s of Facebook (I mean an occasional one is fine but my god, I felt like I had fleas half the damn time).

Lets see where this crazy train takes us

Its time to bring the rain!

 

Can you hear me now?

So I picked up a digital recorder for me to use when doing my dissertation. I have to interview about 20 people in order to fulfill the requirements of my research.

I thought I was being clever. I purchased a Phillips DT2700 that came with Dragon Naturally Speaking software which can be used to transcribe the recordings without a lot of effort from me.

Silly me.

The software is version 13. Which is not compatible with Vista. I found that later. I.E. after I got home. Since because you know the box actually says the software can be used with Vista.

So I had to order the software. Again. I’ll get it Friday. If I’m incredibly lucky and if the manufacturer website is not wrong this version should work.

So basically I got a $50 voice recorder for $90 which I cant take back because I have to start my interviews tomorrow.

Feels like Monday.

 

Cleaning house

So I’m trying to clean up the site and remove a lot of the jumbled mess the right hand menu has become since so many of the previous MilBlog sect has gone to the way side.

I’m torn as to what to do with the old links however.

Part of me wants to keep them, as a memento to those folks whom used to populate the blogsphere digital crave drawings if you will.

Another part of me say’s to wipe them clean and remove all the dead ones, keep only the relevant and still functional.

We’ll see which one wins.

But for now this week I’m going to be cleaning up the clutter and debating if I want to keep this design or try something new.

Also if anyone has any suggestions as to a good interface between WordPress and Twitter that would be awesome

Bloggin on the Go

So I’m looking for a halfway decent mobile Ap for my Windows phone for WordPress.

I know, I know, the idea of an app, on a Windows phone, that is even close to decent is nearly laughable.

Here’s the rub: I like my Windows phone.

First phone in a long while that I have liked.

So if I want to make this transition wholly back to the website from FB, then I need to find a way to send ya’ll stuff here, like pictures etc.

Doing it from the web wont work, already tried.

So Facebook killed my account

Only took them 5 years

 

My security concerns don’t outweigh their desire to sell personal information, I reckon

 

Gives me cause to post more here yes?

 

State of the Blog

Its always kind of sad to take down the green each year. But I guess thats what makes it unique

I had intended on getting some more posting done between class semesters but we had a tornado nearly hit our house and do a lot of damage around here.

We are all OK and its more of a chain saw and clean up issue than anything.

That said, its been kind of hectic.

I’m back in class but I am working on some new stuff just the same

Somewhat motivated by seeing that we are still averaging several thousand visitors a month.  No one is commenting but that’s ok as long as folks are reading.

That is what keeps me interested in writing still.

I also know that a huge number of my blog links are….well….dead.

I’m reluctant to delete them, mostly for sentimental reasons. Not sure if I will pull them or not.

I see them and I think about once was, versus what is.

 

Closing of March, thoughts on Irish American relations

Typically March is one of my favorite times of the year. You get the full gambit of seasons in one month: rain, snow, cold, warmth and the colors begin changing once again.

This March has been brutal, not weather wise but just in general.

We lost a good friend, and military blogger in Carroll LeFon AKA Neptunus Lex in 2012. My whole family was nearly killed in a car accident in the same year. My daughter has been plagued with one sick spell after another. The list goes on and on.

But in the end it is still the seasons, and just plain luck that goes wrong even though sometimes it is fate itself that has turned against us.
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Bloody Sunday: An apology almost 40 years in the making

I originally wrote this in June of 2010. I thought it would be worth while to show how things have changed in the years. There have been developments since this, but all the same it is relevant and worth mentioning I think.

Bloody Sunday Monument

Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end streets
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

U2, Bloody Sunday

January 30, 1972
The Bogside area of Derry, in Northern Ireland.
On one side over 15,000 civil rights protesters against British rule.
On the other, British Para’s, the cream of the British Army.

In the outcome over 27 people shot, and 14 dead.

This was the time of Troubles in Ireland.

“… it is expedient that a Tribunal be established for inquiring into a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the events on Sunday 30th January 1972 which led to loss of life in connection with the procession in Londonderry on that day, taking account of any new information relevant to events on that day”

Resolution of the House of Commons, 30th January 1998,
and of the House of Lords, 2nd February 1998

The world has changed since those days. Do not take this apology lightly my peers. Let us not return to those days of Belfast and yon. There need be no violence on this day. The point is made. They have admitted their errs. Use it to your advantage and push, politically, diplomatically for the freedom you have fought for.

But if we’ve learned one thing in these past years, is that bloodshed never washes away bloodshed.

Be better than that.

Be Irish.

A tribute to the victims:

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An Gorta Mór, or The Great Irish Famine

(I first wrote this March of 2012. Each year I try to add at least one new story to my Irish History Celebration posts. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)

The Famine began quite mysteriously in September 1845 as leaves on potato plants suddenly turned black and curled, then rotted, seemingly the result of a fog that had wafted across the fields of Ireland. I have been told that the cause was actually an airborne fungus originally transported in the holds of ships traveling from North America to England. Somewhat ironic then if you consider how many Irish families in turn fled to North America because of it. Let no one say we Irish have not had a sense of humor in the annuals of history.

In Any event, The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. Outside of Ireland it is more commonly called The Irish Potatoe Famine. Within Ireland, and amongst my own family it was referred to as an Gorta Mór or great hunger.

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The Coffin Ships

National Famine Memorial Cuimhneachán Náisiúnta ar an n Gorta Mór in Murrisk, Connacht, in County Mayo

(I first wrote this March of 2011. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)

Coffin Ships are a rather sad part of Irish history. Originating during the Great Irish Famine, and of course the prison ships to Botany Bay. The first vessel with Irish convicts for Botany Bay arrived in Port Jackson on 26 September 1791.

They were called “coffin ships,” because so many poor souls had been dying on them as of late, leaving behind widows and orphans and broken families. Typically untrustworthy vessels, these ships were purchased literally from salvage yards (where they awaiting dismantling) by unscrupulous owners who had no intention of repairing them. Sailors who agreed to serve on board these floating wrecks typically knew nothing of the dangers until they were well out at sea, vagabonds, and those desperate for work (of which there were plenty) quickly volunteered.

Concerned only with profits, these same ship owners heavily overburdened the ships then insured them against expected losses of cargo. They were quite literally worth more at the bottom of the sea than upon it.

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Radio Intercepts
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