I confess an above normal level of obsession with this Russia/Ukraine incident. I make no excuse for it.

Truth be told its little more dynamical than the Georgian incident.

But for some reason this feels different. A vibe in the air. A vibe I haven’t felt or seen since the 1970′s and 8-’s during the Cold War

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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.

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Just exhausted.

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.

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With The Armorer finally going dark there aren’t too many folks from the heydey of blogging still around.

 

So whose left?

Well John DuMond of Nobody Move is still writing, and doing so with much more regularity than myself. I’m a frequent lurker there and rarely comment but I still like his work, especially his true crime pieces.

Harvey too, is also still running over at Bad Example. Again I lurk but do not comment often. Mostly because I have a hard time finding time to do much more than quickly read any more with work and school.

Laughing Wolf has been much more creative than I posting quite regularly.

Stephen Sherman aka The Commissar still runs his Ace Pilots page, but his Politburo Diktat is long gone.

Teresa and Technicalities is still alive and kicking

Doc at DocInTheBox also posts occasionally.

T1G of Drunken Wisdom is another sporadic like myself.

EricSWG of StraightWhiteGuy also writes sporadically, and well as always when he does.

The Conservative UAW guy last posted in May.

Nidonemo is still active thankfully.

The Ministry of Minor Perfidy is another who has not posted since May

Slobokan has been silent since April

All of the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers are gone save for myself.

With the exception of a few holdouts such as Blackfive, Grims Hall, This Aint Hell and Murdoc Online most of the old groups are gone.

Since I started writing online back in 1997 I have seen the web undergo a lot of social changes. From mIRC to OTC sites such as Tripod and Geocities, to the MySpace and Blog Heydeys.

All the folks I have listed above, for the vast majority I interact with via Facebook with regularity. They get tired of the spammers, the Chinese hackers, the internet drama, and the “Take this down or we’ll sue you!” crowd.

Its hard to blame them. I’ve been threatened with at least 4 lawsuits in over 15 years of writing on line. I’ve gotten more hate mail than I can shake a stick at. Its one reason I have rarely if ever used my real name online: the fact is there are just some plain old fashion sick people out there.

But I have also met some fabulous people, made great connections. Been introduced to some legends, and people who I consider friends today.

Blogs may be going to the way side, and one day it is entirely possible that this site too may go dark (though I have no immediate plans to do so) but until that time its much like digital cave drawings. People have evolved, maybe not for the better, but their digital social culture has definitely swung towards the instant gratification world of Facebook and G+. Even I use them.

But I can’t put down my keyboard, not entirely. I feel like if I do, a little piece of me might die with it.

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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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I made some folks who I think highly of, and respect pretty angry today on Facebook.

I’m not happy about it. I’m hoping they’ll forgive me. Or at least understand where I am coming from. I mean no ill will.

I respect their position. They are just one of the countless folks who are directly suffering from the government shut down. The one that the rest of the population, myself included, are unaffected by.

I know that folks are out of work. I know that they don’t want to lose their homes or not pay their bills. I also know that the rest of the country doesn’t care.

Make no mistake, I do care.

But I also know that until the rest of the population is affected, until the people who make the policy are affected, then those folks who are going without a check will continue to be used as political pawns in a game that none of us have skin in.

I know that the American people have become, well, simply put, lazy. Our government knows this. They won a Presidential election on it. The American motto should be “What handout can I get today?” John F Kennedy had it all wrong. “Ask what your country can do for you!” He obviously had a teleprompter foul up. 

I don’t want my friends to lose their home. I truly don’t.

Hell, I don’t want to lose my own home.

But neither do I want the status quo to continue. Earlier today I wrote

“Let me clarify my position on this. Until it hurts, and I mean truly hurts everyone involved, these types of political games will continue. Until the “ruling class” is affected because the populace refuses to fund a government that is nonoperational, until the “ruling class” doesn’t receive a check, until the streets stop being paved, and the system teeters on collapse these types of grandstands will continue to occur and interrupt our lives. Because, from my view, they want us dependent upon them. They want us to need them. They want us unable to get by without feeding it, the machine, the bureaucracy. So I want it to hurt. I want a black flag policy. Jackson once said “If the general government should persist in the measures now threatened, there must be war. It is painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. They do not know its horrors. I have seen enough of it to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils” referring to the Civil War. This is really no different from my point of view. The government threatens, it soothes, it shakes its fist, but it has no impact on the makers of the policy. Until those policy makers feel the pain, until they stop being served their coffee, stop having the Secret Service to protect them, and stop having their world catered to them on our dime, then the status quo will never change. And I mean never.”

That’s pretty much my thought in a nutshell.

Right or wrong. Lambast me. Hate me. The fact is I have little hope for America anymore. I don’t believe we will ever see a populace rising to meet the challenges of our future the way we have seen in the past. I see our rights being stricken what seems like daily. I see our dependency on our government quadrupling almost daily.

So no, I don’t want anyone to lose their home. But neither do I want our world, our country to continue the way it is. I can’t pick a position and win in this gambit. A wise man would keep his mouth shut, and probably I should. I’m royally sick of seeing folks like my friends being used as Yo-Yo’s in political strategy however. I’ve never been happier to be out of the US of military until these last few years, and I could never dream of a day saying that prior to this.

Will this shutdown change anything? Probably not. It never has before.

Most likely before the week is out they’ll have a budget passed, the Healthcare program will be included, no one will lose their home, and this chance to make a notable change will vanish in to thin air. Folks will rant and rave about Obamacare and post angry pictures on Facebook deriding our current government, President and their ilk. None of it will change.

Because the ones who make the policy don’t care. The ones who argue and write the policy don’t care. The ones who make the red-tape don’t go through it. They will  just generate another few thousand dollar per plate fundraisers and get reelected on misinformation and political lies like they did the last time.  So until their lives are interrupted, until their lives are affected, none of this matters. Until Amendment 28 is ratified and passed, this is all just parlor games. A New Orleans street card vendor trick.

They just want to show us, what happens when they don’t get their way.

Over at The Armorer’s place they are celebrating their Anniversary of have their web doors open.

Over 10 years, and frankly given how many website’s I have seen come and go that’s pretty impressive.

Calimus and I started blogging back about 1995 under the heading of Techography.com. We had a major database crash in 2005 roughly, and we split the sites by opening this one in 2008 due to a change in focus of my own and what I blog versus the content at Techo.

We’re limping along, but much as The Armorer says, I’m not looking to do anything phenomenal, not that I ever did online. It’s been a hobby for me, and a study in social as I watch how the technological world changes from m-IRC, to forums, to websites, to blogs, to Facebook and Twitter. Watching as the people move from one system to another.

In any event having a website for 10 years is a pretty big deal and should be celebrated accordingly.

Go drop him an “Atta Boy!” will ya?

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A long time ago my grandfather gave me a piece of advice regarding the world. I have kept it near and dear, and recited it often.  I have referred to it regularly and I find it on my mind a lot as of late.

There are folks out there who will take advantage of the kindness of others. To be clear this isn’t any group I am currently involved in, as I am involved in several, but rather an interpretation of our worlds state of affairs.

While a youngster in school I asked my grandfather about buying stuff for my school fundraiser. He refused and explained at the time”

“Offer sweat when required of you, blood when demanded, and money never.”

He later explained what each meant. You can volunteer your time, you can work hard and sweat to benefit society. Sweat is free. It’s easily generated. It’s your time.  Blood is for wars, and defense of the things you believe in. Money however is reserved for the safety and well being of your family, and your families future.  Money can be earned by those in need. Money should never be freely given. He explained it with wild life.

If you make it to easy for animals to get food, they come to expect it. Like bears raiding garbage cans.  One day when they don’t find it, they’ll come demanding it from it’s source.

We’ve been pushed pretty hard here at An Dun.  Critter under went surgery and that set us back on what little savings we had after doing a tremendous amount of work here at the house. In fact we don’t have any, now.  My truck required some repairs to have it meet the state inspection standards, and my wife’s vehicle has another 4k in repairs I have to do to it. But I simply don’t have it.

This isn’t a beg. Or asking for money.  Just me rambling some thoughts in my mind to clear my head.

I know no one currently who is not in hard times. I find myself focusing on seasons, concentrating on getting our house and land ready for winter, preparing to build a woodshed, and chop firewood. I see myself slipping back somewhat to my youth in watching the tree’s ,the skies and the land for changes of season. It’s not a unpleasant feeling. But it is a sobering one.

We have offered our time and our blood to a number of affairs over the years. It’s been enjoyable. We feel we have made a difference. But it is harder and harder to recognize that difference as more and more people come from the wood work needing assistance through the various charities we have done work in.  I find myself growing disgusted with people in general.

I want to find them, shake them, and demand them: Find Work. McDonald’s pay sucks but it is work. A job is a job is a job. Take responsibility for yourself. Stop blaming the world. Handle your life. Raise yourself, and your family. At age 32 when I first moved to Arkansas versus being on unemployment, and after being a Project Manager for one of the largest telecom firms of the last decade I took a job cutting grass at a marina for barely more than minimum wage. Because it was a job, and I had a responsibility, and I had no time for the foolishness of saying a job was beneath me.

I’m currently examining taking a second job, possibly even teaching. Most likely online given my work schedule and load. But I can’t pursue it until I graduate. Thus time is not on my side at current.

Now Critter is experiencing adversity in her school. I have a very different interpretation of the intent by the staff. We offer our sweat, our time, and our efforts. But we don’t participate in sending money or fundraisers. We already spend  a large sum for tuition. We pay our school taxes on top of that.  Maybe it’s my families raising but asking for more just seems greedy. My interpretation of the adversity she is experiencing I feel is a direct result of our lack of spending.  I see no other basis. I confess to being a sarcastic cynic as well, however. My wife disagrees but has no other theory to offer. However, that is why she is at the parent teacher conference this morning and I am home playing Nurse Dad. I am known to be….abrasive…when riled…and make no mistake, when it comes to my daughter I will rile easily.

In short it has been hectic around An Dun these days, and my grandfathers words have been tested. In good news, we fixed the leaks, replaced all the doors but one, repaired the foundation and have made a lot of headway. Now I fear my daughters birthday and supplying a Christmas.

They are first world problems. I do not argue this.  I always keep in mind the places I have been. The things I have seen. There are others who are much worse off than us. Who would trade what little they had to be us in an instant.

But it does not make it an easy thing, just the same. In a little more than 6 months I will graduate with my Masters degree. I don’t know that I be fiscally able to continue with my current employer, and that bothers me as well. I have not shown loyalty to a single employer since my time with the Army, it could be said I have commitment issues. But I like my job, I like the company, I like the people. I just don’t know that I will be able to continue in such vein by the time my first student loan payment comes due.

As in all things, time will tell. And in that time the leaves will change, the snows will come, and the wind will blow. But in that I will be ready. The wood will be cut, the house will be warm, the roof solid. My grandfather taught me well.

The man who survived World War II, who survived the Great Depression, who lived off the land, who ate not from a store but from the woods, and drank from streams who did his best to pass on to us how to be the best people we could be, and showed us how to speak and act with intent, and integrity.  It often leaves me confused in my interactions often around others who speak from the side of their mouths as to why they feel the need to do such things.

In her adversity, I try to teach Critter what was passed to me, and how to watch the seasons, the land, the leaves, and prepare.  People who demand money will always be there. Vehicles always need fixing. Adversity at school is a constant. But one’s home is one sanctuary, and one’s family is a responsibility that can not be denied.

And in that, it can be said that no matter how technology driven our society becomes, how professional I may be seen to be, or business oriented,  I learned my lessons from my very Appalachian oriented family well: My grandfather taught me well.

We will persevere.

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If you are wondering what the difference is between all the different types of cigar wrappers out there, this guide will help to bring you up to speed.

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Thats right folks.

On a happier note you can now order Rocky Top Tennessee – The Magazine! 2013 edition!

Featuring articles by the likes of Brad Shepard, Will Shelton, the rest of the gang from RockyTopTalk.com including yours truly!

You better hurry, cuz I hear they are going fast!

 

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So why aren’t I blogging more?

Well, honestly I’m fed up. I’m tired. I’m worn out.

With the knowledge that the Federal government is looking to do the largest land grab regulation since the aquisition of Alaska, I’m forced to ask some hard questions. Especially since it directly affects me

Is this the Union for which five generations of my family including myself, went to the Army for?

The answer is decidedly no.

The country we joined the service for did not use drones or spy on its citizens, and certainly not for profit.  Something that the British citizenry are rapidly begining to dislike in their own country.

The country we served, did not lambast religious education systems of any form, especially while its own education system is continually outperformed by that same criticized system daily.

The country we served did not violate the rights of a land owner….something that I thought we straightened out in 1776, but apparently some folks have forgotten.

The country we served, encouraged people to earn their way, to make something of themselves, and to work for success not create a leach class that sucks the financial ability from all of the others.  You earn it.

The country we served, did not allow others to determine thehealth care one got. It was up to the individual. You got what you could pay for. It wasn’t given. You earn it. Like everything else.

The country we served allowed anyone to go to college, provided you earned it. Not cut funding for college for soldiers who have been fighting, dying and getting injured to earn their degree versus sneaking across a border, illegally at night.

The country we served did not reward criminals, or those who knowingly broke the law.

In short I don’t know this country any more.

And I’m not sure I like it anymore either.

But sadly until folks decide to do more than “Like” a silly status on Facebook, it’s all just words.

The American people have become lazy. Sloven even. With no desire to change anything. The antipathy is a cancerous disease of self preservation that prevents any action by anybody. Instead we stand like lemmings in the room each staring at the other wondering who will make the first move.

Meanwhile the bulldozer just keeps coming.

The fact is, we embarass our forefather. We have shamed them. We are willing to let everything go, just so we can have our highspeed internet and high definition television programming. We are willing to subjugate, so that we can get a government check, a government benefit, a government handout because of all the things we could fear, the country that put a man on the moon….suddenly fears work.

Sadly, I fear this ideaology may be right….at least to some poor bastard.

 

We have politically corrected ourself in to oblivion. We can’t accept an apology and move on with our lives. We have to have blood for some social injustice while our government trashed our other social rights behind our backs.

We have become a nation of television, sound byte fed attention defecit children with no desire or care for the larger picture if it doesn’t meet some latest fad thats been identified as Good for the Children ™.

And frankly, it all makes me want to vomit.

So will I be blogging with any regularity?

Possibly. Maybe. Doubtful.

But I moved into the boondocks for peace and quiet.

I don’t intend to be spied on by a government that I once worked for under some silly notion of “Greater Good.”

Do your damn job more effeciently and stop passing laws to make it  harder to put the bad guys behind bars or in the ground. Novel concept. The fact that Nidal Hasan is still breathing air in the same time zone I am is proof enough that this country has lost its marbles, and its balls.

But thats too hard. Its much easier to pass the buck than it is to be responsible. Everyones worried about some bullshit legacy or history book consideration. Everyone ants to be a star.

And nobody wants to do their fucking job.

 

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By now, the media has updated everyone on the events of the weekend. I wanted to share a thought this morning with one of the groups of people I work to try to keep appraised on the side, and whom I thought could appreciate the scenario.

If you own a weather radio or read the NOAA updates, you have probably heard or read the end tag “Spotter Activation will not be needed” at the end of a report. Or the ever worrisome “Spotter Activation will be needed at…..” and wondered what it all meant.

Those are the lines that put me and other spotter/chasers in to action each night on a alert level. Without muddying the waters I get called for other items but those lines are a “Heads up!” alert for all the spotter organizations in an area to be ready, we think it is serious. These individuals, groups, and teams- all volunteers, will spring in to action and spend their day, evening and often nights trying to keep the various NWS offices appraised with scientific data, visual cues, and imagery to help us send alerts, balloons, and warnings to the national media and direct systems like weather radios.

The price was heavy in keeping folks appraised over the weekend. Three men whom I have had the pleasure of working with since my start in the weather industry Paul Samaras, Tim Samaras and Carl Young residents of Colorado and California, died while trying to plant a measuring device in front of the Canadian County tornado. http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/02/the-stunning-tornado-videos-of-storm-chaser-tim-samaras-who-has-died/

It is one reason I seldom directly chase anymore. The storms are getting more unpredictable in the last 2 years (from my perspective anyway), and the influx of what we call “storm lice” or folks who are not professional storm chasers but throw themselves in front of storms recklessly because they think it fun, or cool has increased three fold. So you no longer are simply concerned with just a storm, but with endangerment of those around you. It’s a nightmare scenario, personally. However, I do chase, and did that night from Tulsa, through Bella Vista, Exeter, Cassville and in to Springfield and past in to Marshfield. We were spread too thin, with too many storms, and too little chasers.

I know how many folks will react, pointing out that storm chasers take risks. I wanted to say that Tim did not take risks. Tim was as cautions as they come. The storm made a hard jog north as Tim tried to place instrumentation in its path and his safety zone became a danger zone. One, that with a tornado that spun up as rapidly as this one did, he could not escape. Even with 4 weather centers, and over 12 people watching the storm, and the radar, myself included, none of us could contact Tim fast enough to have him change course…the storm moved that fast.

These were folks I have shared coffee with, talked with, swapped E-mails with and spoke with. They were not nameless entities on a computer or celebrities on a TV screen. What they did saved countless lives in other places and their information that night went directly to NWS Norman to call for the cover of at least 3 cities before they were struck. In any occupation, you have the risk takers…from snowboarding to boating. I just wanted to set the record straight that they was none of these, as they were good people trying to do something good to help others.

Moreover, the fact of the matter is the casualty rate was much lower than it could have been in OKC, people were prepared despite the mass chaos and dangerous storm going through a heavily populated metropolitan area. All of that is directly because of people like Tim, Paul and Carl. Because of them, we could coordinate, identify damage, and send out warnings to the places that needed them. We received measurements, visual identification, pictures, video, and calculations. None of which we would have without boots on the ground in a dangerous environment.

We have more storms coming this week. Starting tomorrow night most likely and again at the end of the week. As we measure the back build I’ll let you know what’s coming. Right now, count on hail, and high winds. And Spotters being in the field

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Nestled within the Seven Valley region of Southwest Missouri, lies the home that was voted to be called An Dun.

It’s a work in progress. We’re still unpacking in fact, a slow and tedious process with our work and school schedules.

Since procuring the home place, we have painted the entire interior of the house. I have also discovered a lot of water damage that I have been working feverishly to repair. New doors. New carpet. New fridge.

New start.

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Current vote tallies are as follows.

An Leargaidh The Slopes    3 Votes
An Dun Hill Fort   3 Votes
Monadh Liath Grey Mountains  2 vote
Cair Ceann Tulaich  Fort of the hillock 1 Vote

And lets not forget an honorary mention for Caisleán Critter 

Don’t forget to check here for the full list.

I was going to finalize this on the 10th, but frankly I have not been able too.  As May 4th we should actually be able to start officially relocating in to the house I will probably make the naming ceremony then.

We have gotten a lot done.

All of the rooms are painted, about 90% of the trim and touch up work is complete as well. The old carpet has been ripped out.

The chimney sweep will be out Tuesday. The carpet is being installed on Wednesday, the new water heater, fridge and exterior doors are coming on Thursday. So I’ll start transporting stuff over Thursday night most likely as long as the weather holds.

I am so ready for all this moving and construction to be over.

Still will have a busy summer. Entire outside of the house needs to be stained, and there are a lot of repairs still to make.

But at least now we can see light at the end of the tunnel!

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Current vote tallies are as follows.

An Leargaidh The Slopes    2 Votes
An Dun Hill Fort   2 Votes
Monadh Liath Grey Mountains  1 vote
Cair Ceann Tulaich  Fort of the hillock 1 Vote

And lets not forget an honorary mention for Caisleán Critter 

Don’t forget to check here for the full list.

Vote tallies will end the morning of Saturday April 20th.

As for me? I’m trying to maintain decorum. Of course inside I’m screaming.  5 and a half hours and it will be all over.

So here’s something to set the mood. Caoineadh Cu Chlainn, probably one of the prettiest songs I know of, as performed by Bill Whelan and played on a Uilleann Pipe.

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Hopefully by this time tomorrow the signing of the papers for my new home place will be completed.

It’s odd for me really. I have spent most of my life moving in one form another. By age 14 I had already lived in almost every state on the Eastern Seaboard thanks to the US Navy. Since then I’ve moved well over two dozen times again. Packing, and moving, is something I can almost do in my sleep.

My daughter however, is not used to this. My wife either really. Before she met me and fell victim to my southern charms she had never lived anywhere but New York. Since then she’s moved to Arkansas and then Missouri. This next move will make her practically a veteran mover.

But my daughter is stressed. She doesn’t like putting her toys in boxes or her animals in bags. She doesn’t understand that she will see them again in just a few weeks. I find myself regularly having to take a deep breath before reacting, namely because I moved so many times that I can’t comprehend this problem. Yet while I experienced it myself, I find myself forgetting that experience, and responding not with understanding but rather exasperation. It’s troubling to me.

With any luck she will never have to grow up a nomad as I did. I try to not allow myself to become frustrated with her, but I digress.

The point of this, dear readers, is the Naming.

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After E-mail Direct Song, they sent me another kindly worded but useless E-mail.

We have just received a new shipment from the manufacturer and is now awaiting a signing session by the composer. Your order is near the top of the priority list so should be sent out on this shipment. Please keep a look out in your email for a confirmation and Tracking number

It sounds really important and special.

Except that same morning I received my CD.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I got my disks, and I’m happy too that my wife enjoys the music.

But the customer service was, as demonstrated, beyond out of touch and horrific. So much so that they might as well not be engaged at all. Were my own company to employ such a method of customer service it would be on CNN by tomorrow morning.

I won’t be doing business with them again, but at least its good to know that I didn’t send my money to some mad Nigerian General by accident.

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They really should have their own fairy tale, because their customer service has obviously been asleep as long as the original.

Back in November of 2012 I ordered my Bride a copy of the Skyrim game music. We both like orchestration, and the music was good. DirectSong.com is the only place you can get it, as the company is owned by none other than the composer, and his brother.

It’s now April. And I still have not received  the CD’s.

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