Archive for the ‘The Road’ Category

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…..so keep yours closed.”

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

World of Beer Internship

So I applied for a Internship with World of Beer

It’s a pay cut for certain, but I intend to ask my employer for a leave of absence if I am selected.

My reasons for applying are pretty straight forward

  • First: I like Beer
  • Second: I like Beer
  • Third: Having a internship, while not required by my doctoral program, can’t hurt.
  • Fourth: Its a good experience.

So do me a favor will you? If you can, drop a line to them either on their website, or via Twitter and tell them what an awesome candidate I am please? Hell, call them!

Of course I’m asking you to lie but we don’t have to tell them that :)

Ruby Red Grapefruit IPA

Another by Northwest Arkansas Core Brewing

A lot of lacing, as you can see with a decent head. Unfortunately it doesn’t last long. The grapefruit taste goes over most the other flavors but you still get hints of the citrus/pine of a IPA

Its very tart with some bite after as you would expect from grapefruit.

Ruby Red Grapefruit IPA

Ruby Red Grapefruit IPA

Kyya Imperial Stout

Another by Core.

WP_20160225_11_18_50_ProThis Imperial style stout uses locally made Kyya chocolate

You can taste the rich chocolate and a slightly burned, coffee flavor. Not unpleasant, but the woodsy tones definitely make you sip this one a second time to try to identify the flavors!

Hazelnut Brown

Brewed by Core Brewing out of Northwest Arkansas

WP_20160225_10_44_09_Pro

This is a nice hazelnut and coffee flavored dark beer. It keeps a nice head for decent amount of time. The aroma is strongly hazelnut, and vaguely oak.

I’m familiar with several of Cores beers but this is my first foray with this particular blend.

 

The Hemingway Cocktail

Its called a number of things. The Hemingway Daiquri. The Hemingway Cocktail.

Story goes that Hemingway drank so many of his favorite cocktails at El Floridita, the Cuban bar where the author spent many days and nights drinking in the 1930s and ’40s, that the drink was eventually named the Hemingway Daiquiri.

Thanks to my friend Devon, the Bartendar at the hotel I stay at in CLT frequently, I have become quite a fan myself.

WP_20160211_20_25_46_Pro

The difference seems to be dependant upon which clear alcohol you want to add. If you want the Daiquri you use the traditiona white rum. If you want the cocktail, you use gin. In either case the affect is very much the same: tart, a touch sour a touch sweet with a nice refreshing tang afterward.

Supposedly he could sit and drank 12 or more of these a night. Hemingway said these drinks “had no taste of alcohol and felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow.”

The recipe is rather pretty straight forward

 

  • 2 oz white rum or gin (The traditional rum was Havana Club I believe)
  • 3/4 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup 1:1
  • Garnish with a grapefruit twist

    Shake all ingredients except the garnish and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Kick back with a copy of The Old Man and the Sea and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Grinding

Spent the last several days sick as a dog. When I first got to CLT I couldnt hold my head up. Yesterday was first day of really feeling almost normal, but after several nights of medicinal induced sleep I couldn’t pass out last night. Don’t know if it works that way for everyone but for as long as I can remember if I take something to go to sleep, if I dont take it the next night I struggle with going.

End result? I got about 4 hours sleep last night and I have a long day ahead. I’d complain but frankly I’ve been working between 60 and 70 hours every week since August short of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The project I’m on has been a ball buster, but the primary portion is nearly complete. Which means my travel schedule will relax soon and I can spend some time at home. I will stil be travelling until at least June if not July, butnot as much as I have

Have a busy year between residency for school and my reunion. Not sure how I am going to juggle all this.

 

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.

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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Hunting. Or Searching.

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.

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Remembering: be safe this New Years Eve

As a veteran I have had a lot of friends go on to Fiddlers green before. It never gets easier. As a civilian its a bit different.

You don’t have the bond that you get from the military. Sure you have drinks at folks houses, you talk about the kids but the struggles and traumas aren’t the same.

Storm chasing is different. You are pushed right up against the envelope in some of the most dangerous scenarios that mother nature has to offer. Me? I rarely if ever go out running them down. I readily admit I sit my happy ass in my comfortable office running radar scans and pulling information from multiple chasers over several states.

Andy made it fun. He made it interesting. He showed that chasers are professionals not only to each other but others as well and willing to give the shirt off his back to folks no matter the situation.

We lost Andy at the beginning of 2012. Killed less than 2 hours from my home by a drunk driver. In life as in war sometimes its the stupid things that get you killed. In this case it was a stupid person. Its often the things that seem most inconceivable, most unlikely that also do you in. Its not an artillery round, or a bomb vest, its a moron who doesn’t know how to say “Someone drive me home.” because at heart they are a mindless, simpleton coward.

It’s New Years Eve. I beg you be safe, be smart and be humble.

And remember those who have went before us, save a empty chair for them aye?

Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit

 

 

If we make it through December….

Merle Haggard had it right.

It has been tough going as dad, a student, a Volunteer fan, as a citizen.

The personal budget is screaming under the weight of schools, and Christmas. The countries budget might as well be on fire for all the good screaming has done it.

I am hopefully for a strong cold Winter. We haven’t had one in several years now, and frankly I think we need it.

Oh and lets not forget the Mayans. I’m attending a “We made it out alive or we got left behind!” December 22nd party.

But as I sit here in my office, sipping my coffee, my daughter playing on her computer beside me, even with all these troubles I can find a sense of peace.

Everything is falling apart around us, but at home, in the quiet of our home, we find peace.

Your life is what your thoughts make it.
– Marcus Aurelius

There’s a lot to be said for that I think.

At work its all 100 miles an hour, get it done lickety split quick. At home I try to slow it down. Relax. Breathe. Enjoy.

Kick back, scotch or wine, cigar and watch the leaves fall.

Peace.

If we can make it through December……but until that time, keep the peace, aye?

Airport Bingo

I’ve been packing and working on some work relatted paper work since last night. I took a brief respite and turned on the news while putting the finishing touches on my check in luggage. The programming put me to thinking.

I’ve been flying so much the last two months that it feels like I live in an airport.

Thats not usually a big deal for me but it has made keeping up with Graduate school, to put it very mildly, a challenge.

When I get home my daughter craves, no, demands my undivided attention. Work is a huge demand on my time right now and school is just as bad, if not worse. It’s further complicated by the fact I sometimes jump three to four time zones in a single day.

/sigh

But its good work, and I am doing my best too do a good job, even if the political enviornment is one I am not fond of. Anyone who knows me knows that I am about as politically correct as a an Irish bordello. So I usually just keep my mouth shut, keep my head down, to my job and move out smartly.

Truth be told in this area the travel is a relief. I grow weary of the huddeled whispers in corners sometimes, and it makes my head hurt when folks talk about the latest TV programming. While the latter is entirely me, and I admit that the former is just eye ball rolling and navel gazing. But I digress.

It has been nice seeing old Ft Carson again, sadly no one that I know is stationed here any longer. That much is somewhat telling, as well as vaguely disturbing. In our minds we often picture a place as frozen in time, in a single pane the way it was we last saw it. So it is often shocking when we return to a location and see the changes that have been wrought in our absence.

Cartersville and Ellijay, GA are both this way for me. Often I hear folks say “Oh its only grown a little.” While I stare at them flabberghasted. However my Ft Carson experience is more unsetteling than normal, whereas Cartersville and Ellijay have people I know who can help me identify changes or find places I used to haunt, with Ft Carson  I have none of that. Too many years have passed, to many duty stations have changed and too many personell have left for Fiddlers Green from the wars and “peace actions” since my time here.

In High School, one of our yearbook themes was “We are only just passing through”. My good friend, lets call him Gas-man due his MOS and to protect the guilty, and I noted how many folks just passed through our active duty units. Compared to a dinner we had recently with a group of National Guard veterans who I think may have a more solid bonding experience as their personell usually stay until retirement, with minimal change due to personell rotation, or MOS branch orders like in Active Duty.

I think I envy them that. A steady parade of faces over the years, folks I knew only breifly or not at all move past my minds eye as I board another plane and then another. Watching folks in uniform shuffle from one Gate to another to catch flights from here to yon. The last time I flew on Active Duty we were told we could not wear our uniforms for security concerns. We wore civillian clothes. I consider the fact that those instructions were pre 9/11 and now after the fact we openly have folks wearing. Its a juxtaposition to be sure for me, but one that  I can not take a position on as I see points in both aspects. But the faces move on and fade out.

In the end we all do, we make only a few marks in the worls, on the people we meet. There are no more Alexanders, no more Hannibals. There will be no more grand parade of soliders from Antietam, The grand movements are done, the band has ceased. It is not what we mark anymore it is who.

Do I sound tired? I am. Very tired.

I turn off the TV and finish packing my bag. If our network programming is of any indicator, I think I’d rather  read the works of Tacitus and remember than see what we have become.

 

Strings

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.

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Circle be Unbroken….?

I’m home sick today.

Stomach and fever. Combined with a slow anger mingled with sadness. It makes for quite a miserable experience.

I have mentioned in the past, of my merry band of friends, the very small circle of us who survived the 90’s in Georgia. We were thicker than blood. Brothers from different mothers.

We fought. Often each other. We laughed. We cried. We mended broken hearts and saluted beginning and ending relationships.We drank, we sang. We played. We stared death in the face on mote than one occasion with our antics, and walked away feeling invincible.

In many ways we were a family unto ourselves. We were a peer group, but all in all I think a positive peer group. We never let others in our group drive drunk, we wanted us to be old and gray laughing at our antic together.

We were less responsible in other aspects, namely driving for which we took to the Georgia back roads like moonshiners from revenuers.

The epitome of wild eyed southern boys.

Now that circle grows smaller. This is my tribute, what little it is can not truly express the depth of our sorrow.

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Radio Intercepts

#Veterans Employment Center terminates service registeredevil.com/a… #vets have less than a week to download profiles

  • photo from Tumblr

    Enjoying lunch with my Mr Borg Old Army reproduction pipe and personal tobacco blend

    05/04/16

  • photo from Tumblr

    Prior to the storms this past week Taken on my way to work

    05/02/16

  • photo from Tumblr

    The La Gloria Series N Great smoke

    04/30/16

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