Archive for the ‘Stories of Home’ Category

The adventure begins….

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu


Winter is coming


For most folks it’s a TV show meme

For me its more of a statement of fact heralding back to the early years of our country. A reminder to prepare in the way we do every year here at my home place, off the beaten path.

We spent yesterday splitting firewood as you can see via the Twitter account. We still have a long way to go. Fire for us isn’t a cutesy thing we snuggle around for fun and romance (although it can be), it’s our primary heat source. So the work we do in preparing for winter is serious business. Failure to do it, failure to make time and get the cutting of food and other items we do such as prepping our garden for winter, checking house seals, and prepping out winter gear like chains, snow chains, de-icers etc can impact our long term ability to get to our jobs, stay warm or grow food.

It’s part of the price we pay trying to move to a off grid life style. Maybe it’s crazy. But it gives us reason to get up each day and we spend a lot more time together as a family.

That alone makes it worth it.


Return of the Road Warrior

Think I’m growing feathers.

Was in Washington DC at the beginning of this week. I fly international Sunday. The following week I am back in Atlanta. Then I will either be back in DC or back International. It’s anyone’s guess. Either way keep an eye peeled on the Twitter and Tumblr accounts linked here on the main page as you may get a chance to see some cool places, cocktails and things in the coming days.

I’m trying to find time to wrap up my prospectus but it seems like everytime I sit down to work on it I either fall asleep or the phone rings. My intent right now is to spend some time finishing it on the plane this Sunday since I will be in the air about 13 hours.

Surely I can can get it and my references in to APA in that amount of time.

Otherwise the grind has been in full affect. I had my knee surgery last week, and of course in typical me form had to set off for DC at the start of this week. So I am limping along without any grace whatsoever, completeing the look of an overweight, broken American brought down by his size (although I actually injured the knee on the job). Oh, well.

Got to sit down and shoot the bull with my chair again this week which was good. Is also why I intend to spend Sunday running this thing down.

I start the first of my last 9000 series classes on Monday. I only have 5 of them in theory, but in practice I will be taking the 9000 series until my dissertation is done no matter if its 5 or 25. Granted I want it done in 5, the school wants it done in 5, so that means my already very busy year is about to get a whole lot busier.

Feast or famine around these parts.

A month, a day?

Cant believe its been almost a month since my last post. It seems like yesterday.

If you have been watching the Tumblr account embdeded in the main page you know I have been busy (and thirsty!). Went to Atlanta, followed by a trip to Washington DC. I will be making several more trips to both before the year is out currently by the way the land lays.

Had a change at work, and now I finally have some help. Won’t do me much good in the short term but in about 13 or 14 months I may not have to travel the way I have been.  Thats very good news.

Meantime I have to try to train the new guys and teach thm what I know. That could prove interesting.

Pat Summit: One Fans Tale

Back in 2009, I was just wrapping up a job in Tennessee. I had been doing a UMTS expansion throughout the state for AT&T and was heading for home finally.

It had been a rough year. I had taken the job due to some troubles my bride and I were experieincing, both me in my previous career, and she with me. So I changed jobs. We’re still together so the change must of worked.

Anyrate, my daughter was becoming enamoured with Tennessee, part of what my bride has jokingly called “brainwashing” for several years…with a laugh.

So it was that on January 22, 2009 I took Critter to watch the Lady Vols, under Pat Summit take on the local Arkansas Razorbacks.

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What a Weasel!: How Delta damn near destroyed a dream vacation

It’s been a while since we had one, but Delta is officially our Weasel for 2016.


So we just got back from our vacation. Barely.

I’ve recently been on a screed about Delta. As a long term, medallion member, I used to have a lot of loyalty towards the company. That loyalty has greatly waned, to a point of near despisal. If I did not already have several trips bought and paid for through them I would not be using the company anymore. But for at least two more months I am stuck with them. We booked this one via Delta Vacations, way back in March.

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More travel

Nice long trip coming up. So should be updating Tumblr and here with some good pictures and adventures I hope.

Looking forward to the R&R as well as the grind has been brutal lately. Trying to get ahead on my school work has been punishing as well, but worth it in the end to have some breathing room for a few days.

Will update either while on the road, or when back. In either event should have some more blogging coming

Meanwhile I have updated the doctoral area with more resources for those who find it useful

Residency 1 in the bag

So I just finished my first doctoral residency for my current school. I had attended residencies for my previous school, but sadly they do not carry over. In any event, it was an interesting experience. My brain feels mostly like mush after grinding away at my prospectus for almost 5 days straight. It was odd discovering that i was ahead of many of those attending their first residency but I think honestly I was in a better position than they were to absorb the details being provided due to being in that position. I had several of my peers come up to me with blank expressions not understanding large parts of data because it simply wasn’t something that they had encountered in their educational journey yet. I can see how that may make them discouraged, and lead to some of the turnover rate in the program. Just my take, anyway.

In other news I am working on trying to publish a short story I wrote quite a while ago. I have to do some editing to it and I have to put it in the format required by Amazon, but it is my intent to try to clean it up and read like something better than a 5 year old. Don’t know that I will succeed in the last part however, but what the hell might as well try.

I have a lot of travel on the books still to go this year, but such is how it goes yes?


Insulating An Duin 2

So the first thing we did was put plastic down in the hallways and anywhere we ran the hose. The idea is to prevent insulation from going throughout the house if the hoses separated at a joint. We also laid plastic down under the attic door, as with a hose you are bound to push some down in to your living space. WP_20160521_08_33_34_Pro WP_20160521_08_34_05_Pro

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Insulating An Duin

So today we have an electrician at An Duin who is finally rewiring the house.

I’m all for do it yourself engineering but there are somethings I much prefer leaving to professionals so I know that they are adhering to local code. Saves me a lot of headaches as well.

Meanwhile once he wraps up it will be time to get dusty with one of the easiest and dirtiest things you can do to help reduce your electric bill: insulation.

We found that a big portion of our attic space was completely void of insulation when we first did our home inspection. We used a broom and kicked some of it around (reducing the overall thickness) to try to make up the difference but that was  band aid. Its time to actually fix the problem.

So here is some information that may help you should you ever decide to do this.

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So I haven’t added anything in a while mostly because I have been cleaning up storm damage around the home place when I am home. Travel schedule is about to pick up again so expect to see a lot more pictures from my tumblr account.

We had a tree that was in front of our house, about a 40 or 50 foot oak that came out of the ground. We got lucky. Had it went backward it would have crushed our house. It went forward instead. All the rain we have gotten has played hell with us trying to get it cut down to manageable pieces. We finally got it done yesterday…just in time as it is supposed to storm again today.

Have an electrician coming out to check the house today as well. Finally going to have a pro try to fix the wiring now that we have replaced all of the bulbs in the house.

Busy times as always!

“Diet” Food

So you have probably noticed that I like to drink. For the last month I have been trying to counter that with eating better and a quasi diet. Let’s face it I’m not getting younger and frankly I’m not a paragon for healthy living.  I hate calling this post”Diet Food” because when folks say diet it inspires visions of long hours in a gym, and religious almost cult like dedication to a food regime that would gag a goat.

Hell no.

For a guy who used to run around in camo and try to kill people I am decidedly a lazy bum. I enjoy not running 5 miles a day, and frankly between my travel, work and school schedule I dont have the time to do such. I barely have time to sit down and pound out little missives such as this one.

Anyway I have swapped two meals for either a yogurt and granola combination, or a broccoli and green apple smoothie with a little PB2 added. The smoothie was inspired by the recent Rory McIlroy commercial. Granted using a commercial to come up with diet recipes probably isn’t the brightest thing but hey what ever works right? It also isn’t half a bad even if a little pulpy which probably has more to do with my blender than the recipe.

I’ve also been trying to watch carbs and protein etc. I can’t say that I’m religious but I am making an effort.

I recently purchased a sample package of soylent so Friday I am going to give the version 1.5 a run and see how I feel after using it for a few days.  I’ve heard that it gives people horrid gas, so I think I will wait until Friday evening after work to begin the experiment.  I have heard a lot about the product so I am interested in seeing the results of it. Based on the flavour profile for the reviews the PB2 may be a good additive for it as well.



Still grinding

So as I mentioned earlier my classes for the semester are almost over. In fact this is the last week. I will get a week off, which frankly will be nice, and then I start my last college class I will take. From here on its all research and trying to write a thesis that meets APA and everyone else’s requirements.

So if updates are slow this week, that’s the reason why. I’m just  trying to get through my finals for the week while maintaining my sanity and keeping my job.

Finally getting to kick off my project in Indiana, so I am looking forward to seeing how it will develop. I am also still working with my management to develop a team of people who do what I do. Its nice being the guy in the box but for the last 5 years all I have done is trail blaze, and truth be told its tiring.

Having a team will help. Even then, it will be a year or more before they can get their feet under them well enough to manage on their own.

For now I just need to make it through the week, however.


Delta: Catering to the 1%?

This post was updated 4/15/2016 at 0826CST with Email communications from both the author and Delta Airlines Customer Service

I have been a Delta customer for over twenty years. I have been a loyal one at that. I know that everyone’s perspectives may vary, and some have had bad experiences, I on the other hand, never have.  In full disclosure I’m not a super Elite member of their SkyMiles program, I’m a Silver Medallion, the lowest of their platform aside from a plain Member. According to TripIt however I have logged over 17,000 miles this year and spent almost 45 days traveling since January.

Two years ago Delta totally revamped their SkyMiles program, making it almost twice as hard to achieve Medallion status. They also added a section called Comfort. I did not like the SkyMiles revamp. However, the Comfort program, and the ability to upgrade my own seats after my company purchased a ticket made it something I could continue to deal with.

Until Now.

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Traveling Road Show

A wise man once told me that if you weren’t a 10 when you arrived, you aren’t a 10 when you leave, and she really isn’t in to you because your a hottie.

The point being pretty straightforward, if she (or he as the case may be) is treating you like you are Adonis, its probably not because you can quote Plutarch and Goethe.

As such traveling can sometimes be a minefield, especially here in the states. While romance is always in the air if one seeks it, the fact of the matter is just as many folks lose their wallets, their credit cards, and their jobs by being ….well…frankly….stupid.

There is not enough vodka in the world to make a unattractive person hot despite the common Beer Goggles myth, and if you are willing to lose complete control of your sensibilities and perspective then frankly you deserve what happens to you. I have heard it all in my day. “You look like a friend I know.” “You look like George R.R. Martin”. “You remind me of my best friend”. None of which changes the fact that at the end of the day I’m a short fat white guy who could probably pass for an extra on Jeremiah Johnson.

In the words of Band of Brothers

“Flies spread disease… keep yours closed.”

Simple Life

Things sort of slowing down finally. I let my school work get away from this week, as I usually try to make sure that I have no assignments due on the weekends so I can spend time with my family. However, I failed yesterday to get one item done so I’ll be trying to handle it this morning instead.

Got home last night and got most of our garden planted, the carrots will have to wait until summer. The apple tree’s we planted a few weeks ago are doing well, and actually are budding. We mulched around them last night as well.

I got a good portion of our yard cut with the mower last night. Our new mower has headlights and I find myself wondering Why didn’t you think of this before? Why should I cut grass in July when its 110 when I can cut it at night when its 70 or 80 and no sun beating you down?

I’ll have to ponder that one some more between now and hot weather.

Today is finish the grass cutting, pull a old gate out of the ground, and clean our house (spring cleaning). Kick back with some grilled hot dogs later.

Should be a nice weekend if all goes well and with the exception of this post, it will be nice to shun technology for about 48 hours.

Lex: End of line

I wrote this in March of 2012 once it had finally settled in to my brain on the passing of Neptunus Lex. Brother in Arms, Brothers in Ink, Milblogger, and a man I’d like to consider a friend. I think it needs to be reposted as its that time of the year again.

It is Ireland’s sacred duty to send over, every few years, a playwright to save the English theatre from inarticulate glumness.
Kenneth Tynan, Observer, 27 May 1956

We didn’t send him to England. But really, for an Irishman there really isn’t much difference between death and England.

For me, it didn’t really click until this morning.I had an eval with my current employer, I sat in front of my laptop at 4 o clock this morning with my coffee, and on impulse clicked Lex’s blog link from my bookmarks. My nerves akimbo. I wanted some peace.

Over the years the people I have known via websites have waxed and waned. When I first started writing on line back in 1995, there was one other site I visited with regularity. In 2000, there was eight. In 2002 twenty two. In 2007 almost 52.

Now? 17…and of those fully half are inactive links. Its a testament to my love for Lex’s work that I kept him on my book mark list. The others I liked and I keep hoping that they will update. I have been reluctant to remove the inactive ones from my bookmarks for this reason.

As I clicked his link, and the page loaded the hot coffee turned cool against my lips as I was reminded by whisper…he’s gone. His words will not grace us any longer, save for works in days gone by. His thoughts of previous days left to haunt us in the present. No new posts will cross our screens, no sea stories to grace our world.

I set my cup down and wondered. This digital snap shots in to our lives. Where will they go? What will happen to them. For many, when the costs come due our families will shut them down, turn off the lights, and our words will vanish in to the ether at some point.

Our words left unread by those in the future whom may read them. It is one advantage our print and media brethren have over us. Our archives are only around as long as someone wishes to pay for it. There are no libraries whom receive our subscriptions, no history scribes whom will hallmark our work and words. It is up to us to find ways to back up these works, save them, and distribute them in some fashion for others to hold dear.

Our children may not come of age knowing our works, or what motivated us without these very lines I type. How we thought and the people we sought to be, in the end are portrayed here, in black and white and sent to you in hi definition on 1,024 x 768 pixels through a OC48 pipe from one coast to another.

Lex is gone. That much is final. His words may one day slip in to obscurity. Like my other blog friend triticale whom we lost in 2007, or Acidman whom we lost in 2006, their websites stand testament to their sentiments, themselves, and their values. Digital monuments.

But one day those digital monuments can and will fail. Companies get sold, servers crash, people move on, costs become exorbitant. For me a culmination of almost two decades of writing belong on two websites…the thought crosses my mind…what will happen if? I have no regular blog partner with keys. My wife has no interest in these things, and no interest in voicing her own ideals. It will simply become like my coffee, cold, and one day to vanish in to the electronic ether.

End of Line as Tron repeated so often many years ago in its interpretation of the digital world.

Maybe I am bleak because a little light has left this world. Because one who continued, with others fell to the way side, to provide us with measured, rational doses of words, wisdom and work. Who shared with us his day to day experiences, struggles and life.

Maybe I am bleak because how many of us, in that former profession, had those narrow misses? Those brief glances in to our future? that feeling that all we knew and had was about to change in a single instance….and once he was past that point he chose to go back to it, willingly, knowing the costs at stake? Only to be snatched at the last possible instance mere feet from safety?

It seems incomprehensible really. But the Banshee does not care about prose, wit, or talent and at some point when she calls to us to warn of us of An Bás, the time to prepare will be over.

I prefer not to think that those engines final whine were the cry of the Banshee for Lex, although fitting it may be.

When An Bás came calling, I choose to think that someone, up there….just wanted a good debriefing on how life is down here these days. And to keep it interesting he picked the best writer we had.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
May he rest on peace

The Starvation Orders: The Greatest Generation?

(Editors Note: I first published this at the beginning of 2012. For March, I thought it was a good story to bring back up and republish. Enjoy!)

The Irish and the British will always have issues because the British never remember, and the Irish never forget.

It’s a hot button issue in Ireland.

At the time, and now to an extent, many feel that the over 5,000 Irishmen who left Ireland to fight against Nazi Germany in World War II were  and are criminals, or deserters.

They left the Irish Army, leaving Ireland who was neutral, to fight to stop the Nazi’s in World War II.

Today, there is a possibility they may be pardoned.

The Starvation Orders were the orders to blacklist those 5,000 troops upon their return. They could not get jobs, welfare, pensions or any assistance what so ever, some of them made a go at it. Others left the country yet again. Whats more the orders extended beyond just the individuals, but their families as well. It’s how my own family ended up in America.

Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution. They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen – but he wears his medals in secret. Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service.

“They would come and get me, yes they would,” he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin.
And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: “I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years.”

Mr Farrington’s fears are not groundless.


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Radio Intercepts

I can't help but find it amusing folks are just catching up on my Trump #Manchuriancandidate comments. His latest lends credence #teamgov

  • photo from Tumblr


    Trick or treating haunted houses in Detroit 🎃👻 #halloween #raveoutfits #cybergoth #cyberpop #ravegirl #gothgirl #treackortreat #detroit #fluffies #ravestyle #gothstyle #plurvibes #evolutiondivision

    Very cool….and hot :)


  • photo from Tumblr


    Well said


  • photo from Tumblr

    Another day another airport


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