Archive for the ‘Gaining Wisdom’ Category
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
(BloodSpite’s Note: I originally wrote this in March of 2011. I’ve republished here for this years Irish Heritage celebration. I hope you enjoy!)
I’ve mentioned before that my family hails from County Armagh. However, my family does not align itself with the Ulsters. It’s one of the reasons we left Ireland in the 1940’s my grandfather having had enough of the frictions between the North and South, “We were all Irish, dammit.” he would often curse in his latter years with a shake of his head.
This post isn’t about politics however, it’s more about a place that politics happened.
Every year since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. Nowadays, both the dyeing and a big parade take place the Saturday before the 17th. (Next year, they’ll coincide when the 17th falls on a Saturday.) It’s a uniquely Chicago tradition that tips its hat to the central role the Irish have played in the city’s history.
For a few hours every year, the architectural landmarks that line the Chicago River acquire an aquatic front yard that’s as vibrant as the neon green relish of a genuine Chicago hot dog.
The actual dye is orange. It turns green when it’s churned into the water. The discovery of this phenomenom was made by members of Chicago’s pipefitters union back in 1962, and the union has been dyeing the river for St. Pat’s ever since.
The natural green of the river can be seen to the right, awaiting its transformation into the hypergreen to the left.
1962, over 100 pounds of dye were dumped into the river, leaving it green for days. Now, only 40 pounds are dispersed, but because the river was reversed to run backwards away from the lake, even one day later, the entire river for many blocks to the west remains a single shamrock-colored fairway.
Chicago’s mania for St. Patrick’s green is pervasive. Above is the fountain in Daley Plaza.
I’ve been posting about weather stuff here and on Facebook for a number of years.
With that in mind here is the prep list I keep in my own storm shelter and a retailer you can find it from. I’ve also broken this down in to 2 categories: Necessities and options. The former are must haves. The latter not so much.
There are tons of people who have ideas as to what you need. Do not take my word as gospel. Look around. Conduct some research. There are several books that I can strongly recommend. This list should get you started at least.
Minor items are to put reflective tape on the door to your shelter so it can be more easily seen at night. Use red and white so it can be seen in day time as well. Tell friends and neighbors where your shelter is located.
I am also assuming you already have a weather radio. If you do not, I strongly suggest you make it part of your list.
Trying to finish my Masters program and I’m working on a research proposal to pursue my doctorate.
All while holding down a job, being a husband and father and doing my stormchasing, dream home modifications. I also have an idea for a book in my head and have written a short story but have no friggin clue what the hell to do with them now. Thinking I might hit up John DuMond for advice, as all my published work is in a Sports magazine and I have never done a book before.
Any rate Some days I want to crawl under my bed.
Others I just want to sit on my porch and stare.
Recently I discovered that new SWEPCO Route 109 ruling is practically going to run through my backyard. That hasnt made my blood pressure any lower and I’m trying to see what legal options are available to me. I have filed complaints with both the Arkansas and Missouri Public Service Commission
I’m not burned out, but I am tired.
Just got to make it to May 9th without losing my cool.
Then life will slow down. For a while anyway.
I’ve been going hunting again.
I have not been in years. Up until about 1999 I was an avid hunter. But traveling as much as I did after that point made hunting a logistical nightmare and practically a impossibility.
So I quit and just did fishing instead.
I do some walking, and and some deer stand work. Nothing fancy. I’m not in to outdoor channels nor do I drool when the next camo pattern shows up in stores. I usually wear jeans when I hunt. Its more about being quiet, good and the creature not smelling you. Everything else falls in to place after that.
However truly I don’t care about the hunting. I prefer the peace.
I have written before about strings. We see them yet we don’t. They intersect each of us to others, crisscrossing the land.
I am sitting at MSP. Minneapolis Airport in Minnesota. Another day, another state and another city for the op log book.
But my heart is heavy. In Georgia my first cousin lies in ICU. Fighting the odds and the numbers. The doctors tell us its only a matter of time. More hours than days I’m told.
If it happens as they say this will be four people close to me that have gone to Fiddlers Green in a single month. The ties that bind are heartwrenching, and my soul is weary of this.
If you are like me you love your cigars and your humidor. Lets face it your humidor is more than just a place to store your cigars, or at least it should be. Its meant to be an heirloom, something with meaning, and that should last literally years. It’s not just a reflection of your hobby but of yourself.
As such, everyone has different ways of making sure their humidor stays at optimum humidity to ensure their stogies last for years to come.
Thats where this little nugget of info comes in.
Quick Note: Should you choose to do this I am in no way responsible for anything that you break, destroy, cease to be able to use, main, kill, burn, damage or otherwise manage to make unusable in any fashion. You take your own risks by doing this, just as I did when I did mine.
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As a boy things were pretty rough at times. Before we moved down to Taylorsville, GA our family home was a 2 room cabin in the hills of Big Creek. Our running water was a spring out front, our heat was a pot bellied wood stove, our bath a 50 gallon washtub and a bathroom that was as big as all out doors.
The military was a slice of heaven to me.
You learn to adapt. I don’t begrudge those things above, in fact in someways I miss them. I miss the cold mornings warmed by a cup of coffee listening to nothing but the trees and naught but Charles Dickens to keep me company. I miss the simplicity, and the quiet. I miss the peace. We were “off the grid” before there came to be such a concept. In those days “off the grid” just meant “poor”, but you couldn’t tell us that.
I spent the evenings after home work lost in Robinson Crusoe, As I Lay Dying, and Go Down, Moses. You didn’t need electricity for books.
In many ways I have often considered that song to be a story of me. The cabin is gone now, my father has built his own house on the property. It’s been a long hard road for us. Trials and tribulations. I have a education I thought I would never get, and I am still traveling that road. My daughter does not lack for things to have, and truth be told is probably spoiled.
I have a few regrets, who doesn’t? Some dreams lost to the wayside. I have made many mistakes in my youth, as we all do.
So it goes c’sera sera, or as my grandfather would say: De reir a cheile a thogtar na caisleain. It takes time to build castles.
The year is almost over and the new year solstice will be celebrated, as it should be with friends. Consider me with you in spirit. Try to think of the good things that have came your way, find grace in the things you could not change. Most of all have a Happy New Year, from all of us at Registered Evil. We are thankful to have you, dear readers, among our friends.
My Bachelors degree beat me home, today.
So back in the 1990’s when I walked out of Cass Comprehensive High School in Cartersville, GA I had tried to go to college. I was accepted to Piedmont College, but my folks were so broke and I was so (to put it delicately) inept in my studies that not only could I not fund my college experience, I couldn’t even pay for the gas to get there to have their Financial Aid department attempt to work their magic.
I had used my HOPE Scholarships attending North Metro Technical Institute (Its changed names about three times since then…it’s now Chattahoochee Tech), but at the time I had no idea what in the hell accreditation meant, and they didn’t have any. They did help me graduate high school though so don’t read that statement as a bitter one, because I am not.
Anyway long story short, college quickly became a second consideration versus “What in the hell do I do with my self now?”
Sitting by Allatoona Lake drinking beer with the boys worked real well for about a month, but it didn’t take long for me to figure out I couldn’t build boat docks for a living.I bummed around Nashville for about two weeks thinking I’d be the next Alan Jackson or Neil Young. I made $20 bucks one a street corner for my efforts. Intro family tradition and the Army recruiter stage right. I swore one day I’d never be so broke my kid couldn’t go to college when they had the chance.
It may not be a “traditional” school, but my University of Phoenix education was not a walk in the park, and I busted my ass for my degree. The turn over rate in students is pretty high, so to be one of the last folks standing makes me pretty happy. Anyone who says its a worthless degree, or a easy school, ask them if they graduated: If they say yes, congratulations on being smarter than me. I’m an adult I can handle it. If they say no…well…I guess it wasn’t so easy was it?
But it’s time to go traditional. I start classes January 17at Missouri State University.
If someone had told me those years ago that I would one day be gunning for a Masters Degree I’d have laughed at them.
I guess my mentor, Randy Armstrong was right. I really could do anything I set my mind to it.
I just wished it hadn’t taken me so long to figure it out.
This one’s for you sir. And for anyone who spent any time in Acworth, GA back in the 90’s.
I wrote this for my fellow students at University of Phoenix and placed it on our social site for Alumni and students. i thought I would share it here. Some of it may make no sense whatsoever to the casual reader, and I apologize. For those who are considering UofP or are starting UofP, or hell, any one trying to go back to school after many years separation: take notes. It may sound like an excerpt from Chicken Soup for the Soul, but this is what I used to get me through, and just maybe, it might help to keep you on track as well.-BS
Only my electives remain.
Which means that a journey I started in 1995, stopped in 1997, started again in ’98 halted in ’99 then started again in ’08 to finally finish this year is all but over.
After ten years in the Army, one tech school and two colleges counting this one, I’m finally completing my Bachelors degree. I achieved my Associates in 2009.
It’s been a mess, a struggle as it were. A long road.
However Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” I live by that quote as much as I can. Leave something behind.
As such here is what I can pass on to those starting their learning or those who may be struggling. As a lover of philosophy, I found many to assist me along my way.
- “Begin–to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.” – Marcus Aurelius.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you have a paper that is large in assignment, or is challenging, or perhaps you’re just suffering from writers block that day. Do a little. Walk away. Come back. Do the rest, Like you would eat an elephant, one bite at a time.
- “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step”-Confucius
Don’t put off your work until the last minute. Start on it. Even if your just getting the APA formatting started on Tuesday and you don’t write the paper until Thursday, start on it. When you have started something most folks will tend to want to finish it. Whereas if you never start it you will keep finding reasons to put it off.
- “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong as its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away”.- Marcus Aurelius.
Make time. Time can be your worse enemy. We have lives, jobs, friends, families. We have movies to watch, parties to attend, paying work that needs to be completed. It is easy to put off a visit to a simple website. What is not easier to do is to accomplish the goal of your degree. Make time. Even if it means sacrificing your lunch break at work, or putting off going to the lake party one more hour. Make time.
- “We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation”. -Francois De La Rochefoucauld.
Don’t cheat. It’s not worth it. The integrity you violate is more than just your own. While you speak to the caliber of person you are, you also violate the trust your team mates are putting in you. Believe me that reputation will follow you to your other classes at some point. I have found there is no assignment that can not be completed or overcome by simply allowing yourself more time to work on it. Yes you may miss the opening of the latest Harry Potter film. But it will still be in the theater next week.
- “If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?” ~Stanislaw J. Lec.
You have a team. Use them. My last two teams have been beyond phenomenal and we did not concentrate on only our team assignments but we helped study for our individual assignments as well. Use your teams strengths, ask questions. Be helpful. You may have an answer some one else does not. Your team is not limited to only your team work. There is no regulation that says you can not study or work together.
- “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” -James Thurber.
Listen to your team. Read some of the DQ posts made by others. You may be surprised to learn that never everyone is a 6 year old disguised as a 33 year old high school graduate who can not comprehend basic English. Some of your classmates are highly intelligent and may offer you ideas. Admittedly, some won’t. However, some of my best papers came from ideas other people thought of in the DQ discussions, their answers intrigued me and I researched it. Don’t assume just because you have lived it, you know the answer. There is always another solution.
- “Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases.” -Hippocrates.
Your team Charter is your guide. Make it strong. Set deadlines. Set punishments. Outline actions you intend to take if your team mates do not pull their weight. That team charter is your defense against slacking, plagiarism, and anything else that may befall you. Failure to use your team charter really means you haven’t been paying attention in class.
- “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness” -Dalai Lama.
Be kind. You may feel with all your being that you are right. You may know it. You may assert it. But remember your fellow students are your peers. Your co workers are your peers. You may not like them but you have to work with them, and if you want to succeed you need to overcome those differences. The easiest way to do that? Be kind. Be polite. Do your part. No reason to antagonize a already stressful situation. Breathe deep, do your best, be polite and let the chips fall where they may.
- “If you fail to honor your people,They will fail to honor you; It is said of a good leader that When the work is done, the aim fulfilled, The people will say, “We did this ourselves”- Lao Tzu
Most of us have a back of the class mentality. We do not want to be a leader of men or women. We want to do our assignment, live our life, do our job and go home at night. Period. However sometimes if you want to succeed, you have to pick up the mantle. Do not be afraid. It is a little thing to organize the work. Do what needs to be done, succeed, and be proud of yourself later.
- “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”.-Aristotle
Agree to Disagree. Everyone here has different ideals, philosophies, religions, morals and views on life. If we all came from a Xerox copier lets face it, the world would be pretty boring. Respect the fact that someone may see something different than you do. You don’t have to agree with them, you don’t even have to like their view or the person themselves. But given the amount of apathy in the world respect the fact they have a position, and move on to something else.
- “I will show you fear in a handful of dust” – T.S. Eliot.
In everything we do we have fear. Fear of crossing the street. Fear of driving at night. Fear for our children, our welfare and our futures. The key is to control that fear. Do not fear your education, do not fear your endeavor to better yourself. Find strength in your successes. Find a bit of wisdom or grace in the things you can not change. Learn lessons from your failures. Work harder. Study longer. You are in control of your own destiny, and the choices you make will determine your success. Do not fear this, instead wallow in it, bury yourself in your education and strive to do your best!
- “Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth”. – Gottfried Leibniz.
Your dedication will be rewarded. Your time here is fleeting in comparison to the world you can go forth and change. Your life may not be altered in anyway whatsoever…save for the knowledge that you rose above…you succeeded where others failed. You chose the higher road, to be something and do something. To undertake a challenge that others have decided they could not or some may have said you could not do. Do not let the challenges of the world, the lack of jobs, the economy, rob you of this victory.
You came, you saw, you conquered.
Be happy. For now we come full circle. Start at the top once again. For now you have your degree. you must rise above the world, your peers, you must aim for that goal of a better job, a better life. A new way to fly. Do not be discouraged. Time heals all things. Keep pace. Make time for yourself. make time for your dedications. But above all again, savor your victory.
I hope this helps some of you, in some way or another. If nothing else know that you are not alone. For after all you are but one student in the masses of students, all with the same goal. Look to each other. Let the other things fall to the way side. Work to your goals.
I hope to see you all at the finish line.
Last night possibly the worst storm in 29 years rolled through the south east.
More than 200 people are dead across five southern states following what the National Weather Service is calling the deadliest wave of tornadoes since 1974.
Five southern states — Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia — are reporting fatalities, with officials reporting at least 141 dead in Alabama and eight in Virginia.
This storm barely missed my town of Smyrna, and we were lucky. Too many people lost their lives, and I struggle to find a reason for it.
Last night around 8:00, I started getting ready for the worst. Mind you, I am rarely uneasy about storms, but this one seemed different. It was just so hot and humid outside, and with a violent thunderstorm on its way, I knew this is what breeds tornado’s. Unfortunately little else is known about why tornado’s strike with very little warning.
Fear sunk in as I watched the radar and the swirling red and yellow approaching, it was very sobering as I looked around our humble home and chose which of my valuables to save. I packed a couple bags, of course the diaper bag for the baby with diapers and a change of clothes, milk, and juice. Then I looked to our personal valuables. I packed our firebox with priceless jewelry, some files, birth certs and marriage licenses, social security cards. We took our baby’s book which had all the first memories, first hair clippings, and my computers and backup hard drive.
While looking at our bags, and got ready to start taking them down to the neighbors basement, I wondered how many by daybreak won’t even have these few things left.
Every time I hear of a storm, virtualy just wind and rain, 2 of the things that supply life, that is taking lives I have to wonder….
Why does this happen? How is it that 2 of the most important things that sustain human life kill so many people?
Bloodspite said it best when we talk of tornado’s, “They are the literal Finger of God”
I pray for the families that lost loved ones and of the families that lost their houses and businesses, nothing left to do now but to pick up the pieces and move on….
A long time ago my cousin of the female persuasion was staying with my first wife and I. She was, and still is a shapely lass if I may say so, and raised manu eye brows of the local boys. She still does.
I have many friends. Some with unique and otherwise alternative lifestyles. One such friend made a comment regarding her being of age and pondered to me if she wou?d be intrested in exploring said lifestyle with he and hois wife.
I never wanted to strike a friend as much as I did in that moment. I am that way with my family.
Years have passed. I have grown older, and wiser about somethings. I am still naive about others. Such is the way of the world I reckon.
In my orientation at my new employer I made the aquaintance of a gentlemen, let’s call him Mike. While Mike has no alternative lifestyle he is somewhat viewed with warisome eyes by some.
He is Iranian.
He has long been from his homeland, years since he has seen its earth as it were. He left at a young age, moving to Spain, then Canada, finally setteling here barely 2 years ago.
My Arabic is rusty. How rusty was soon made evident after I greeted him formally. To his credit he laughed and corrected by enunciation, and he has continued to do so since.
A student of Christian theology, he does not follow the Quran. He has little interest in politics, he is content to raise his family here in the land of the free.
We have struck up a regular luncheon. Each day we meet and talk of our jobs and general social matters.
Working in IT we have a large number of Hindus whom regard us with suspicion, a caucasian and Iranian conversing in mixmash of English and Arabic.
I have in the years aquired another close friend who does follow the Quran. He views extremists as being as hard as a Catholic sect whom is reknowned for self mutilation in their piety. Both misinterpret their religions in his eyes.
The point of all this being as I lay down last night was a thought that permeated my brain, keeping me awake most of the evening.
People hate without reason.
There is evil out there, of that I have no doubt. I have seen it myself. And there are those whom would change thr very definition of it given chance and time.
Diversity is here to stay. Better to understand, comprehend and embrace change versus fight the inevitable.
As for me I prefer to with hold my judgement on people until I learn more. Act as needed. Learn first.
Wether an act of maturity, education or of naiviety remains to be seen.
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My daughter loves all things great and small.
Countless zoo’s, walks in the woods, instead of kiddie movies she gets Imax video’s on nature, underwater exploration, and endangered species.
We’ve tried to make learning something fun, basically.
As such she loves nature, and has a deep fondness for animals especially.
Unfortunately there are some lessons she is learning that are hard for her to understand.
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