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
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?
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.
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.
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!
Amid scrutiny that veterans are having trouble finding jobs through the various veterans program the VEC, or Veterans Employment Center decides they are going to do something about it.
And in typical Veteran, quasi Veteran Administration fashion decide to terminate a program designed to help employers find veterans: the job profile system. Less than 2 years after launching the program.
Here’s whats interesting. There hasn’t been a formal announcement publicly, or if there is I can’t find one.
But the VEC has quietly sent out Emails to veterans whom use their service…and given them what amounts to about 6 days (from today May 5, 2016) to download all of their data before the VEC permanently deletes the veterans personal profile on the system.
Copies of the Email are supplied below the jump, as I received them myself
It really amazes me. People are so self centered…so “It will never happen to me” that today’s veterans such as my self can literally light themselves on fire to commit suicide to bring light to the blight of the mistreatment by our government and people will stand and do nothing.
What will it take, honestly? Before someone decides to stand for whats right instead of whats easy?
Utterly amazing….and disgusting. Until it’s everyone else’s turn. At which point we’ll be on the sidelines, those of us who haven’t died waiting for care snickering “You wanted government healthcare.”
So I’m doing my first meal replacement with soylent today.
I had my yogurt concoction for breakfast, lunch was a gyro meal from Arby’s. Dinner? Dinner is this stuff which is decidedly not green.
Not having the “starter kit” which includes various things like pitchers and scoops, I did some searching and found that most folks think the scoop is just under a 1/2 cup scoop. So I went with a heaping 1/3rd scoop.
Drinking it straight it tastes like bland instant oatmeal.
So I added 14 grams of PB2. I used a coffee scoop for the measurement (which equates to 2 scoops).
Now it tastes like a vaguely nutty bland oatmeal which is more palatable to be certain. Mouthfeel wise its thick, slightly creamy in texture. Now chewy, not sweet. Extremely little grains but that may be from the PB2 as i did not notice it with the straight powder but nothing abnormal in drinking powdered drinks. If anything it breaks down better than some of the GNC types I have tried in the past.
Its not bad, it could be worse. Hell, having lived on MRE’s I have had worse.
My plan in this test run is to swap two meals each day over the weekend. The big thing I want to know is energy levels and if it staves off hunger. If I’m still hungry after drinking this then its kind of pointless, frankly to consider using it regularly.
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.
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.
As a long time blogger I’ve seen a lot of sites go under for a variety of reasons. Some good, some bad, some life, some tragic.
Its sad really. The ongoing debate between video games, whats appropriate, what isn’t, whats sexist, whats misogynistic, and whats feminist is not going to go away anytime soon. If anything with trends such as #GamerGate, it is likely going to ramp up further. So having a voice in the realm such as with Game Politics was a good thing.
Sadly that voice has had to close their curtains at a time when rational discussion is sorely needed both now and in the future. Another story in the digital dust.
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.
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.
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.”
Hard to believe my stats class is almost over. 2 weeks of it left in fact.
This makes it harder to believe my educational journey likewise is nearing its end. I have 1 elective class remaining, DDBA 8592 – Business Infrastructure Vulnerability Analysis, something that I thought would blend well in what I do for a living now: building facilities and their network infrastructure as a quasi Construction/IT Project Manager.
The only thing left is my dissertation. Hard to believe I have made it this far frankly. I was barely a D student in high school and spent more time partying than I ever did applying myself. I’ve started my educational journey literally decades after my high school peers. I sometimes wonder how it would have been different had I not chosen to see the world first. That’s not a regret, though it may seem like it, more of a whimsy. A muse if you will, of what could have been versus what is, and what I hope will be provided I can write my thesis in something resembling the correct fashion.
Its been a long journey, and to be certain it is not over yet, but I can see the city limit signs anyway on this trip and I’m beginning to count miles.
The biggest question yet remains…..what do I do next, and where do I go from here? Do I stay with my employer? Do I hang my shingle? Do I try to do something new? Do I move, relocate? Or do I hope that something, someone, somewhere notices what I can do and am capable of and has a use for me?
Time will tell.
So with the end of March having occurred I no longer have an excuse to be lazy. The truth is I have written so many articles over the years about Ireland and the Irish, that in March I rarely add new stories any more. I try to make an effort, however, to add at least one new one each year. End result is I have a plethora of Irish work on the website, which is ok, because it seems to drive a wealth of traffic as well. In previous years I changed the visual theme of the website to the current theme you see now. We used a different visual theme the rest of the year. The woodland theme more reflects my thought process these days.
With all of that I always feel sad to see March pass. While an excuse to be somewhat lazy on the site it is also a nice time to share heritage, heraldry and see days like St Patrick’s Day as being more than just a drunken rampage (not to say I haven’t participated in a few). There’s a reason its a known holiday, beyond green beer and shamrocks as well as silly hats. Learn it, understand it, then celebrate it.
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.
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
I first published my recipe last year, thought I would share it once again! -BS
Folks who say the Irish are horrible cooks are fools. Just my opinion. The Irish have some of the best meals around in my book, and if your a meat-and-potatoes kind of person who has been eating pasta instead, you are truly missing out.
You don’t have to just eat this recipe on St Patrick’s Day. While it is traditional, much like eating black-eyed pea’s on New Years Day is in America, Irish Stew can be made and eaten pretty much anytime just as its American counter part.
I recommend it throughout the winter months, and if you have friends over.
This is my family recipe mind you, so treat it well, Aye?
If you don’t like it feel free to blame us. If you do, just share a wee bit o the credit.
Recipe after the Jump
(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.