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Eight Days

OCTOBER 31, 2022


Eight

10/30/22 11:05 AM

For the record, eight days in our countdown until the 2022 mid-term elections.

It's always fun going and looking for an online image to add to a new post. And, this one really brought back some fun and interesting memories!

I was a very young kid when I got my first fortune telling eight ball. I took it everywhere with me.

Shake it up, turn it upside down, and read whatever it had to say. Usually something very benign, but interesting to a kid at that age because there seemed to be some magic in there somewhere.

Whatever it had to say seemed to have some real meaning. With a bit of creativity the message suddenly brought with it an application to my life.

I can't imagine a kid today, who is at the age I was at, finding such interest and intrigue from such a simple toy. There was just enough magic in the presentation to be interesting back then. I guess you could say it was new technology to us back at that time.

And, with the level of technological sophistication that has come about in today's products, we are no longer so quickly or easily impressed. It's kind of like the reveal that comes with magic trick these days on YouTube. We want to know how something is done and we want to know it now.

It takes a show like Penn and Teller's Fool Us to keep the magic and the intrigue fresh and alive as magicians bring their latest tricks to the stage.

Remember Erector Sets, Tinker Toys, and Lincoln Logs? I'm wondering where all of the creatives and engineers have gone. It seems to me that everyone wants to reinvent that which has already been invented.

Remember when Legos didn't come in kits and instead left construction to the builder's imagination?

Footnote

Trick or Treat

Haloween

10/30/22 06:35 PM

HAPPY HALOWEEN! I don't expect it to be a big deal around here since we're a group of about five houses, no kids to speak of, and an out and away location with lots of hills and driveways to climb for the energetic trick-or-treater.

Quite honestly, we're not big on the day anyway. We'll probably just shut down our lights and go about our business. Like I said, I can't believe anyone would take the time and effort to trick-or-treat with so little return on investment up here away from most everyone.




Nine Days

OCTOBER 30, 2022


Nine

10/29/22 08:00 AM

For the record, nine days in our countdown until the 2022 mid-term elections.

Two years ago this month, I rejuvenated my blog and made a commitment to publish a daily post about life. It wasn't about generating a readership, it was about life and writing about it. It was about keeping a scrapbook of the things that were going on.

With the exception of a couple of major life events, including the moves from Wakulla county in Florida to Baldwin county in Alabama and then here to Calhoun county, also in Alabama, I have been able to stay true to that commitment. A few weeks ago, and without fanfare, I passed the two-year mark from my initial post. I'm now working on year three and post number 521. That's a lot of life!

And since I'm a numbers guy, that's 521 days out of almost 25,000 days of life! Wow, that sure puts things in perspective. Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of a long and wonderful life! And more important, thank you for my wonderful soulmate! What an honor and a blessing to have her in my life each and every day. She is such a joy!

As my father always said, and with which I always agreed, in her I got better than I ever deserved.




The Countdown!

OCTOBER 29, 2022


Ten

10/28/22 06:00 PM

The blog will be carried forth as usual, but the images for the posts will be dedicated to the countdown for the next 10 days until zero day (election day) arrives on Tuesday November 8, 2022.

I figured it would be fun and add a bit of a twist to the blog. That in addition to everything else that will be going on.

10/29/22 07:35 AM

Well, it's Saturday! They come fast and furious these days and it's hard to believe we're less than two weeks away from our three month anniversary here at what Patty has aptly named Cliff Cottage. Let the adventure continue!




Hearing Aids

OCTOBER 28, 2022


Hearing Aids

10/28/22 07:50 AM

It's been a busy morning already. Last night I dropped one of my hearing aids on the bathroom floor. It is so light that I couldn't imagine any damage occurring.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to have been the case. While it still can be programmed and the volume changed, I do not get any feedback or amplified sound from the device. I've got a call into the Walmart Service Center and they are supposed to call me back when my turn comes around.

They show that I can simply return the device and get another one due to the date of my order, but after I talk to a tech person on the phone, I'm not so sure that will be the case. I'm quite willing to do whatever it takes to pay to get the repair performed. The devices work well when they are working. And of course, the remaining hearing aid is working just fine.

I'm expecting a call-back any moment now.

Footnote

FedEx

FedEx

10/28/22 02:15 PM

Well, lunch is over and so is the workout and the run. But things weren't so smooth just a bit earlier. After several hours, I gave up on the call-back and reinitiated a chat and a call with one of the Walmart agents.

The young lady was very kind and professional and sent an email to me that would allow me to drop my failed gear off at the FedEx and upon receipt Walmart would be glad to ship another one, at no extra charge. I didn't even have to pay for the FedEx services, that is once I was able to locate them.

I knew the local FedEx (our Dollar General) was just a drop off, but I also figured they could point me in the right direction for a shipping location. Interestingly enough, the FedEx driver was also at Dollar General and pointed me to the office on Catfish Hatchery Rd. in Eastaboga, Al.

My GPS pointed me to a person's house and that guy very kindly directed me to the FedEx location. Unfortunately, they were also just a drop-off location, but pointed me to the office not too many miles away. My GPS failed me again, but a kind guard showed me the way and I finally got where I needed to be.

As I mentioned before, and much to my surprise, there was no charge for the shipping. And with a quick forward of the Walmart email from my phone to the kind FedEx lady, she had me processed and on my way back to the house. I passed a cool speedway not too far from the office and some twenty miles later I was at home and ready for lunch!




Lily

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Lily the Cat 2

10/27/22 06:45 AM

As you can tell by the time entered immediately above, it's early. Patty and I have a trip to the doctor early this morning for regular testing for her. Nothing urgent or concerning.

Last night was quite an adventure with the cat. It wasn't really that cold and as a result, she stayed out well past the time we go to bed. We both called but she wasn't anywhere to be found.

We both got up once from our slumber to check and still no cat. Sometime later in the middle of the night, I awoke to see lights turning off. I told Patty that I would go out in the morning light to find Lily. Patty finally helped me to understand that Lily had indeed come home and that Patty had secured her in her room as usual. I thanked her, turned over, and went back to sleep.

I have no idea what time all of that happened, but now it's early the next morning and time to get on with life and living. The homebrew cappuccino is good as always and I hear Lily working on the food in the bowl in her room. She wants to go out but will not have that option this morning due to our plans. I think she's made the adjustment and is looking quite stately atop our sofa.

Footnote

Glory Road

Glory Road

10/27/22 10:05 AM

On an unrelated note (and no pun intended) I was noticing the music in the old movie I watched last night. The DVD was one I checked out from the library and I had seen the film before. It was Glory Road (2006) with Josh Lucas and Emily Deschanel.

The music had pieces that sounded the same as Remember the Titans (2000) with Denzel Washington. I went to look up the composers and they were indeed one and the same. The music for both was done by Trevor Rabin.

I love some of what he did in the Titans movie and apparently he did too because he borrowed so much from it and included it in Glory Road, six years later.

Quite honestly, I thought Glory Road was the older of the two movies. I suspect that's because I saw it first and well before Remember the Titans, despite the years that each was released.




Food

OCTOBER 26, 2022


Food 2

10/26/22 08:25 AM

There's no doubt about it. I have an unhealthy relationship with food. My mood swings tend to align with my food consumption and that can never be a good thing.

We've decided that our watching our weight is much more important than eating out. As such, we've shifted our grocery pickup time back to morning so that it doesn't have to align with lunch time. That way, we're home when lunch time rolls around and can eat some of Patty's good lunches instead of gorging on eat-out food.

I simply have no willpower when it comes to managing my food consumption at a restaurant. I'm usually starved and weight-watching priorities seem to just fly out of the window in favor of whatever looks good on the menu. That's not a good way to operate if I want to do anything to control weight-gain.

My sweet wife has no problem in this category. It's me that does all of the struggling when we hit a restaurant. She can manage what she does very well and I, on the other hand, toss out all of my rules in favor of my appetite and whatever looks good on the menu.

I had no idea that retirement would still require some limits. I thought it would be a life of comfort, and to some extent it really is. On the other hand there are still tough decisions that have to be made and then there's the follow-through on those tough decisions.

I got on my 2-meter rig last night and struck up a conversation with Jim on the topic of food. We talked about fried food, home cooking, and the good old days, and everything in between. I left that conversation wanting something bad. Fortunately, there were no bad left-overs to be found and I was able to do a redirect and stay on track with my choices.

Choosing to try and keep my weight in a specific range has been one of the better choices I have ever made. I owe that decision to my better half. There are simply too many variables to try and do otherwise.




Ham Radio & Politics

OCTOBER 25, 2022


Ham Radio & Politics

10/25/22 11:00 AM

Well, I've got enough promises of confirmations (3) for QSO's to get South America finished and have already completed North America and Europe. I'm only a few entities away from the DXCC and will have re-earned (at my current location) all of the ham radio awards earned at previous locations.

And, I've got a very good start on the other awards of which I had made no progress at any of my previous locations. It looks like Master of Asia may be first, followed by Master of Oceania, and I'm making small progress on Master of Africa, so it will probably be the final award earned and it may be a while before I secure it.

On a totally different note, there are 14 days until the mid-term elections. I'm going to start my official countdown here on the blog this coming Saturday when we hit the point of ten days left. What happens after the election (and especially with the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election) should prove to be very interesting!

The DeSantis / Trump thing should be very interesting as will be the choice Biden faces in pushing for four more years. There should be some other entertaining players but I can't believe any of them will make a serious mark on the outcome. I guess as time passes, we'll see how it all unfolds.

Footnotes

Storm Forecast

10/25/22 12:25 PM

Looks like we've got some potentially serious weather moving in tonight.

Storm 2

Online Autism Test

10/25/22 12:25 PM

I don't think there's ever been any doubt in my mind, but I took the online test (once again) for the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Results are below.

Autism 2




What if...

OCTOBER 24, 2022


What If

10/23/22 08:10 AM

If I remember the rules of our political arena correctly, I'm wondering what the conservative camp will be able to accomplish, even with majorities in both the senate and the house. Dear old Joe will still have veto power and I'm pretty confident that even if we obtain a majority in the senate and the house, we will likely not have sufficient votes to override a veto.

So, what does that mean and what are we really facing? Dear old Joe will be a lame duck president, but still one with the ability to veto anything he doesn't like. I hope I'm wrong on that.

I need to read up a bit and see what we're facing. I was hoping for a real change that might result from these mid-term elections, but I'm thinking the best we may be able to hope for is a stoppage of any further liberal moves by Joe and his handlers.

Footnotes

Veto

The Veto

10/23/22 08:50 PM

The Presidential Veto

Here's what I found in my research:

The power of the President to refuse to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevent its enactment into law is the veto. The president has ten days (excluding Sundays) to sign a bill passed by Congress. A regular veto occurs when the President returns the legislation to the house in which it originated, usually with a message explaining the rationale for the veto. This veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House. If this occurs, the bill becomes law over the President's objections. A pocket veto occurs when Congress adjourns during the ten-day period. The president cannot return the bill to Congress. The president's decision not to sign the legislation is a pocket veto and Congress does not have the opportunity to override.

Source:

https://www.senate.gov/reference/reference_index_subjects/Vetoes_vrd.htm

The Presidential Line Item Veto

The Line Item Veto Act, P.L. 104-130, allowed the President, within five days (excluding Sundays) after signing a bill, to cancel in whole three types of revenue provisions within the bill. The cancellation would take effect upon receipt by Congress of a special message from the President. Congress could 'override' the line-item veto by enacting a disapproval bill that would make the cancellation message null and void. On June 25, 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court held the Line Item Veto Act unconstitutional.

Source:

https://www.senate.gov/reference/reference_index_subjects/Vetoes_vrd.htm




Heating and Air

OCTOBER 23, 2022


Childress"

10/22/22 08:05 PM

Yesterday we had a heating and air person come by to check out our systems. She was very nice and quite knowlegable of everything as far as I could tell. She even took time to instruct us regarding the use of our butane fireplace.

We have an underground tank feeding the fireplace and I'm under the impression we still have about half a tank full out there. I have no idea how to tell when it's empty other than waiting for the gas to run out while using our fireplace. At that point we'll need to call for someone to come out and refill our tank.

At that time I guess I'll learn more about our capacity and the typical usage of our gas for a given period of time. When we were still considering the place, the property inspector noted a wasp nest in the opening to the underground tank. As such, I've stayed away from it for the time being. I'll leave it up to our delivery person to contend with that issue.

It felt good to have the systems inspected and cleaned up. And, it was particularly good to become more educated on what we have. We discovered that our system was both manufactured and installed in 2007. It's my understanding that 2007 is also when the house was built. So our heating and air system is original with the house.

We signed a contract to get a better price on everything and look forward to visits twice per year to have our systems maintained. We've requested the same person for each visit to obtain some consistency and particularly because we liked her and thought she did a very thorough job.




Fleeting Opening

OCTOBER 22, 2022


Fleeting

10/21/22 08:05 PM

By the time it showed up, it was almost gone. A fleeting opening of the band. Things went crazy and for a few moments anyone and everyone could read my ham radio digital signal.

In that fleeting band opening, I managed to eke out six DX (long distance) contacts. Two were new locations and the other four were locations I had worked before but on different bands, so there was still credit to be earned. And then the bands shut down and went silent just as quickly as they opened up.

The two new locations I worked were Taiwan (very cool!) and Isle of Man (not bad either!)

I suppose Taiwan intrigued me because it has been in the news as of late. And speaking of in the news, and much to my surprise, I've been working stations in Ukraine that all share something interesting in common. On their respective QRZ (ham radio) web pages, each says Address Withheld or something similar.

I'm guessing they don't want to bring trouble to the area where they live and have decided to stay under the radar with their radio operations. Probably a pretty smart idea.




HTML and PHP

OCTOBER 21, 2022


HTML

10/20/22 02:45 PM

Had some more fun changing, and cleaning up, the format for comments here on the blog.

It's still possible to see what has been done without having to add a comment or do anything to the blog. Simply click on the "Display Comments" menu item in the left-hand menu to view what has been done.




Web Stuff

OCTOBER 20, 2022


Web

10/19/22 10:00 AM

I made the normal changes to my system to add today's post. When I went to test the search function it was not working. Worse yet, I hadn't tested in a while and wasn't sure how far back I might have to go to find the problem.

Usually, I know exactly what the problem is and just have to go and do a hunt for the location of that known problem. Unfortunately, that was not the case today.

I went through a lengthy process of deleting and adding back code in an attempt to find the problem. The problem was difficult enough that I seriously considered doing away entirely with the search function. That is, until I found the problem. Apparently, back on October 12 I did a sloppy copy and paste and left out some critical code.

That's what broke the routine. And once I knew what the problem was, I was able to copy some good code from an existing post and set it against the October 12 problem post to get the whole search routine working again. Problem solved!

While I was doing the code thing, I decided to add a date and time function to user comments. It went much better and faster than I expected and seems to be working well, although no one has yet used the comment feature. Oh well, the coding is fun anyway. And, if you want to see the new feature without adding a comment, you can still click 'Display Comments' over in the menu to see the evidence of the new change.

My greatest challenge continues to be the amount of time it takes to add a post. As I've noted before, I have to do several things to simulate what a tool like WordPress does in a more automated fashion. And as I've also noted before, the juice is just not worth the squeeze to try and add that functionality to my system. Either way, it's a lot of fun and that's why I keep at it.




More Politics

OCTOBER 19, 2022


More

10/17/22 08:30 AM

The date and time above is correct. I really did write this two days ago. Then I swapped things around and decided to publish this one on the 19th and the one directly below on the 18th, rather than the other way around.

I'm not sure I should title this post More Politics. After all, it's been quite a while since I've even written a post on the topic. Meanwhile, there sure is a crazy field of players with everything that's going on.

First off, there's Putin and Russia's war with Ukraine. I'm amazed at how the Ukraine forces continue to extend this battle and I'm concerned about Putin's mental state and his mention of nuclear weapons. Hate to say it but he's acting a bit like a spoiled child. Didn't get his way (enter a war with the Ukraine and win it in short order) so he's considering what one might call cheating since he has to understand the potential world-wide consequences.

The races in the State of Georgia's are big in the news. Let's start off with a mention of the race for Governor between liberal Democrat Stacy Abrams and conservative Republican Brian Kemp. Can Ms. Abrams mount a run to top her previously failed effort? It doesn't look like it but it's not over until...

Still in Georgia, there's the ever so politicized race between conservative candidate Herschel Walker and liberal Democrat Raphael Warnock. Big in the news is the fact that Mr. Walker skipped the recent debate. I suppose he would have had his lunch eaten had he attended with all that he is having to address due to a liberally biased press. What's my justification for such a comment? Well, where are the tough questions for Mr. Warnock about his dealings with his wife?

Then there's the other big race located up in Pennsylvania. A run for Senate pits conservative, Dr. Oz against the liberal John Fetterman. I must admit I can't believe there's even support for some of these liberal candidates. Do people really hate the establishment so much that they would support these liberal nut-jobs?

I guess we'll have to wait a couple of years to see what happens with the ever-evolving and potential Presidential bids for Republicans Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump. And, whether or not our liberal Democratic President will take a stab at another run. That should all prove very interesting!

Finally, everyone will be watching to see what the Republicans can accomplish in our nations House and Senate. Will they earn back majority positions and be able to slow down or halt some of the madness? I sure hope so!

Or course, there's a lot more going on. But those things sit at the top of my list.

Footnote

Techie Stuff

Techie Stuff

10/18/22 03:20 PM

Patience is the key to this techie story! Adding WSJT-X and JT Alert software to my ham radio configuration pushed my screen needs beyond my screen capacity. As such I decided to add a second 17-inch monitor.

How hard could it be? All I would probably need is a splitter to split the signal from the computer across the two monitors. And so, I ordered the monitor, the new stand, and the appropriate HDMI splitter. Or so I thought.

Turns out I thought I ordered a male to two female HDMI splitter, but actually ordered a splitter that took a USB C male out to two HDMI females. Bad order! And so I had everything else in place while I waited on the HDMI to HDMI splitter that I thought I had originally ordered, but wound up having to reorder.

When I got everything hooked up, it didn't behave as expected. I solved part of the problem by disconnecting and reconnecting everything so the system could 'find' all of it. But it was still acting wonky! Turns out I have to ensure I connect each monitor to a separate port on the laptop and not split them off of the same port as I had originally anticipated.

Guess what? My laptop doesn't have two HDMI ports, but it does have one HDMI port and a USB C port. I was able to use the bad order and the reorder to get everything hooked up as needed and now it's all working perfectly.




Old People

OCTOBER 18, 2022


Old

10/17/22 04:25 PM

I was wondering if I should consider a title of Cold People for this blog post. After all, the temperature is heading down below freezing starting tonight and will drop below freezing each night for three nights in a row. I haven't lived here long enough to know what normal is, but I'm sure I'll be ready for it after all of this sub-freezing weather passes by.

I'm also excited about going to see Jonathan's marching band performing at the Alabama State Championship this coming Saturday. More on that as we get closer.

So, now to the main event for this post. I just finished ordering 2 hearing aides at the kind request of my wife. And with the placing of that order, I feel like I have officially joined the Old People League. I guess with all of that rock music and school band music, I was asking for this kind of future. And now it's here.

On a brighter note, I'm super impressed with the price points and the technology for today's hearing aides. And I'm also quite impressed with all that has taken place in the industry to allow for a better and more private experience when approaching these icons of old age.

Kudos also to my wife for doing her homework and asking me to do the same. I took one of those online assessments that she brought to my attention and it rated my hearing loss as severe. I wasn't sure I wanted to believe that and asked my wife to take the assessment. When mild hearing loss came back on her report, I had to admit I have a hearing problem.

Boy that was hard to do! After all, there are so many situations where I don't seem to have a problem at all. But when I admit to myself that the signs are all there, (not understanding what my wife says unless she is right in front of me, asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the TV, using the TV's closed caption feature more often, and missing what my friends say on the ham radio from time to time) I can't deny the reality of things.

I've written it off as a processing problem long enough. Perhaps there is an additional processing problem that it showing up, but I can no longer hide my hearing loss behind that. It's there and it was probably time to do something about it before now. Thanks to my sweet wife for being so kind and patient with me while I am dealing with this unfortunate reality.




Pushup Pole

OCTOBER 17, 2022


Push

10/16/22 12:30 PM

Well, when it comes to all of the states and countries (actually geographical entities) that I need to work in order to earn the ham radio awards I'm going after, I think I'm just about done picking all of the low hanging fruit as they call it.

What happens next will either be the result of better antennas, a lot of patience, or perhaps a combination of both. Perhaps I could pursue an average antenna system and avoid the extra expense. I'd be better off than I am now, but still not where I would need to be to knock things out quickly. I'm still considering my options, but haven't been able to nail down a decision yet.

It's interesting that there are more big players on the field these days than there used to be and that makes it a bit easier to grab some of those hard-to-reach locations. By Big Players I mean the kind of ham operators who have invested large sums of money in their radios and especially their antennas. Their antennas often do all of the heavy lifting that enable me to contact them with my ever so humble, less than optimally located, dipole antenna.

Quite honestly, I'm okay with that. After all, a contact is a contact no matter how it is achieved. The challenge I'm facing is one where I've made part of my decision and am not sure if what remains is doable.

I don't want to make the significant investment required for a tower and I don't want one of those big clunkers in my yard either. That leaves me considering the possibility of a pushup pole. (See picture above.)

But with a pushup pole, I don't want guy wires scattered in my yard either so I've got to come up with a strong and creative installation that will support an antenna and an antenna rotor. Perhaps a pushup pole bracketed against the house and against the roof of the house.

Considering weather (wind!), strength of the pushup pole, and other important factors, I'm not sure if I can safely and realistically accomplish all that I want to do. There is so much left to consider before I can make a move or ride out this adventure with my gear as it sits presently.

Footnote

Running

Running Too Fast?

10/16/22 02:05 PM

I'm getting ready to do my run for today. When I started off with my run yesterday, it felt a bit uncomfortable. Somehow, it just seemed faster than usual. I was breathing harder and working harder.

How could this possibly be I wondered to myself. I'm relatively fit and haven't changed anything of which I'm aware, so I shouldn't feel so pushed should I?

Our treadmill display shifts from time, to calories, to speed, and then loops through again. When it got to speed it seemed everything was okay. But then I realized it. I must have had a brain glitch when I set the speed because I ran it up to 8.0 instead of my usual 7.0. Not quite sure how I did that, but by the time I realized what I had done, I decided to stay with it for the full two miles. And, I did!

So, instead of my usual 60/7.0 = 8:57 pace I did a 60/8.0 = 7:30 pace. I haven't done one of those since I ran competitively with Windsor Group on the downtown Atlanta 3.5 mile race known as the Corporate Challenge. Of course, with everyone watching it was much easier to bust a gut and run that fast in the race. Not quite the same on the treadmill here at the house.




Food Journal

OCTOBER 16, 2022


Food

10/15/22 02:25 PM

After I wrote about my weight related challenges in yesterday's post, I wondered if it might make sense to start a food journal to track my food consumption. Even as I started to type out today's list, it seemed like a good thing to do.

My eating, and even my snacking, need that level of attention. I think it might be a good way to discover what works and what doesn't. It might also be a good way to ensure I'm not going overboard and starving myself some days while stuffing myself on others. Honestly, I tend to do that and it can't be good.

Even if my weight goes up and I want to lose some, I've got to continue to treat this effort as a weight maintenance plan and not a weight loss plan. Otherwise, I'm quite sure I will resort to starving myself just to get a good result on the scales. I'm quite capable of starving myself for a quick fix, but it never works when I'm looking at the long-term.

I probably should add to my journal (how can I put this nicely) my bathroom activities. I'm not a very (clears throat) 'regular' guy and what happens will ultimately have an impact on the readings that come from the bath room scales.

Maybe a simple 'BR' (bathroom) might be added to the journal to indicate something happened. After all, that does indeed affect the numbers. On second thought, and perhaps like Las Vegas, what happens in the bathroom should stay in the bathroom.

I'm pretty consistent about checking my weight first thing each morning. And, if I'm going to do that, writing this stuff down should motivate me to avoid cheating the night before. That's because I know I'm going to see the results of any cheating the next morning.

Nightime cheating is probably my downfall. It's like I once heard a woman say about her nighttime cheating:

I get up each day a success and go to bed each night a failure.

It's one thing to cheat. It's totally another to cheat and have to write it down. Perhaps that will help!




Weight Training

OCTOBER 15, 2022


Weight

10/15/22 07:35 AM

I've got a great weight training coach (my son!) but he is a busy man and I hate to disturb a busy man! On the other hand, I have no idea what I'm doing in some areas and need some help and guidance.

I guess the kind of weight training that has me struggling is a function of body weight instead of the weights with which I train. I honestly have no idea what to think about body weight, but don't want to fall into the trap of thinking it's okay for my weight to go up since I'm adding muscle.

To what extent is that legitimate, and to what extent is it a fantasy that I could use to get away with the kind of snacking that is not good for me? Those are the tough to answer questions for me.

As such, I tend to fall toward the side that says maintain the same body weight no matter what. That can't be right either since I can see the evidence that I'm adding muscle. But to what extent do I provide body weight credit for that muscle? I honestly have no idea!

All I know is that I'm having a much more difficult time maintaining my body weight than ever before. I'm up almost 5 pounds over where I want to be. On the other hand, I'm down over 20 pounds from where I once lived. Shouldn't I just go ahead and feel good about that?

Truth is, I'm doing some snacking that I haven't 'needed' to do before but feel is almost necessary just to keep up my strength. When I think about it, that's the real problem and is at the center of the real question.

Is that okay?




Amazon

OCTOBER 14, 2022


Amazon"

10/14/22 01:35 PM

The HDMI splitter I ordered from Amazon was incorrectly ordered and came with a plug that only applies to a Macbook. That isn't going to help me at all with what I'm trying to accomplish in adding a second monitor to my setup.

I confirmed that I incorrectly ordered the part and immediately went and reordered it from Amazon. I ordered it yesterday (Thursday) and it is set to arrive on Tuesday of next week.

Since the splitter was so cheap, I decided to make a trip to the not-so-local Walmart and pick up an extra one. That would get things up and running a bit sooner.

Much to my surprise, Walmart didn't have what I needed. I thought it was cheap enough that it would be common as well. I guess I was wrong.

I went this morning to another Walmart and the guy there said they don't even carry the HDMI splitter. No worries, I thought. I'll just go to the not-so-local Best Buy and get one there. I'll probably pay almost twice what paid for the one coming from Amazon, but at least I'll be up-and-running with a spare.

Well, much to my surprise once again, Best Buy didn't have one either. They had some pieces I could put together to accomplish what I needed to accomplish, but now we're talking a price closer to three or four times what I paid Amazon.

And to make matters worse, that price included an open box item that had been reduced $10. With deals like that, I have no idea how Best Buy stays in business.

Well, forget that! I'll just wait for Tuesday to arrive and get the original HDMI splitter I ordered from Amazon. And I'll have to live with the quarter tank of gas I used and the time I wasted, since neither contributed to a return on my investment.




Focused

OCTOBER 13, 2022


focused

10/13/22 06:35 PM

It's nice to be so focused and interested in something that everything else kind of falls to the side. On the other hand, it's not nice to be so focused on something that we lose sight of our priorities.

I have made blogging a priority such that I want to write something each day. However, and that's a big HOWEVER, I've been so focused on ham radio lately, and the updates and potential updates to my equipment, that my routine has been highly distracted. I got my weight training and run in today, but other things (including this blog) have suffered.

I can tell my dear wife is wrestling with the same thing. She is such a talented writer and her current trends in reading have inspired her to take up writing once again. And, she has taken it on with a vengeance!

I can tell we feel similar in that we work hard to get through the things that must be done to get ourselves back to the things that are so interesting to us. Her with her writing (novels) and me with my ham radio.

It's fun to see so much excitement around here!

In the meantime, let me get this published so I can get back to my ham radio.




Awards

OCTOBER 12, 2022


Awards 1

10/12/22 08:00 AM

I have to admit, it's a bit brutal when one realizes that everyone is not after the same goals in the ham radio community. It really takes patience for some of us!

For example, I used to be very focused on QSL card collecting. If someone didn't send QSL cards, I was sort of argh! about it.

But now, I have my binders (one for the USA and another for Global) and add new cards as they arrive. I also take the time and effort (and money!) to return the favor.

It's not a big deal for me anymore. I still like it, but it's nowhere near the priority it once was and I now have amazing grace for those who don't collect cards at all.

At the moment, my passion is DX. Well, that's not really true. Good DX supports my passion of new countries worked so that I can earn the related awards and have them posted on my QRZ website for the world to see. That sounds sort of prideful, doesn't it? Is that really my motivation?

Before the internet, it used to be about collecting paper certificates and hanging them on the wall in one's 'shack' for all to see. Unfortunately, hams rarely get out to visit shacks anymore but are quick to visit a fellow ham's online profile. And so, we chase the things other's go after.

Unfortunately, I need the other person to confirm our contact. And, not everyone is motivated to confirm contacts. In fact, a large number of people never confirm contacts.

Currently, about 25% of my contacts have not confirmed and probably never will. That gets a bit brutal when I make contact with that hard-to-get location and months later that person still hasn't confirmed. Definitely another argh! moment!

I guess for them it's just about using the equipment they have and making the contacts. In most cases, with their fancy and costly equipment, they've already earned more awards and at a deeper level than I could ever imagine or be interested in earning. I suppose it's quite possible I will feel the same way after I've earned the primary awards in which I'm interested.

But until then...




Biscuit & Sausage

OCTOBER 11, 2022


B and S

10/11/22 07:00 AM

My wife knows me so well.

She knows I'm a grab and go kind of guy when it comes to my eating. And, so every now and then she makes up a bunch of fluffy biscuits with sausage, wraps them individually in tin foil, and tosses them in a big bowl in the refrigerator so I can do my grab and go routine for a quick and easy breakfast.

All I have to do is grab one out of the refrigerator bowl, take it apart, pop it in the microwave, pull out the mustard and apply a heavy dose, put it back together, grab my freshly brewed cappuccino (that's another part of my morning routine) and breakfast is served!

I'm definitely a routine kind of guy and it's so nice to wake up each morning, jump into my routines, and get going on another day of retirement. I'm so blessed to have my better half set me up so nicely with that grab and go breakfast as part of my routines.

I understand that life can't always be a perfect set of routines. And, I know how to adapt and adopt when I need to. But those routines sure are nice and it's great to take advantage of them when the time is right.




Another Widescreen

OCTOBER 10, 2022


Monitor

10/10/22 01:15 PM

I placed an order yesterday (Sunday) for an additional wide screen display for the ham shack (office) with all of the cables and the new multi-monitor desktop stand. Hard to believe a 17" screen no longer handles everything and that I'm going to need another one.

Since installing the ham radio apps, JT Alert and WSJT-X, I've basically run out of screen space. It seems I need to shut all of that down when I go to things like the blog or email. The screen just gets too busy and also quite distracting.

I'm really looking forward to extra screen space and the ability to have JT Alert and WSJT-x running at all times in the background. Having their own dedicated screen space will make a big difference.

It really produces a more positive environment for obtaining the countries and ham awards I'm going after. Should provide a big boost to the fun too!

On a totally different note, it got down in the 30's last night and we did not run any heat. I may have to put another blanket on the bed if we're going to do that very often.

Brrr, that was cold! Cold




Life at 500

OCTOBER 09, 2022


500

10/08/22 09:40 AM

As you may or may not have guessed from the title, this is post number 500. They haven't been consecutive posts since we've had one or two significant life events (e.g., moves) dispersed among them. Still, 500 stories seemed like a milestone worth writing about, and it was just begging for a post.

I often ask myself why I stay with this blog. The answers bring me back to the place where I started. I enjoy the technical side of things such as developing new features, I like to write (even though I'm nowhere near as good at it as my wife), and I also enjoy the artistic side of the whole thing, although I lay no claim to any skill in the artistic arena either.

Most of all, I enjoy keeping this scrapbook of life and all that goes with it. My sweet wife keeps up with it and always has a kind word of encouragement.

Perhaps one day, when I'm long gone, the kids and their kids (and perhaps some family members on down the line) might enjoy reading about a long lost relative and discovering a little bit about this life as we have lived it.

I can't imagine being more blessed with all that God has seen fit to include in this wonderful life.

What an amazing adventure with some amazing people!

Footnote

Best Foot Forward

More on Life

10/08/22 10:05 AM

I wouldn't want anyone reading this (even years from now) to think that I've taken advantage of the opportunity to put my best foot forward with this blog. I recognize I have a real opportunity to write about the good stuff, and leave out anything pointing toward the problems.

But, isn't learning how to focus on the good, and with it how to handle the not-so-good, what it's all about? My soulmate and I talk often about the challenges and we work together to move beyond them. And, with God's grace, we are indeed able to move beyond them.

It's a cool part of the entire process because we are able to look back and see all that God has done, and all that we couldn't have done without Him!




JT Alert

OCTOBER 08, 2022


JT Alert

10/07/22 08:55 AM

Just finished the tedious process of installing, setting up, and activating JT Alert. The biggest challenges surrounded the simple concept of following instructions.

I didn't install everything in the right order. As such, it wasn't destined to work from the beginning. So, after a careful read of the installation instructions, I uninstalled and reinstalled in the proper order and things started to show up that I had been looking for and that weren't there before.

Imagine that!

Next came the challenging effort toward getting the sound to work properly. I realized to my surprise that the default was no sound. That meant I had to do some selecting of options to get things working. Once again, and still much to my surprise, after selecting everything I needed the sound started working!

Finally came the tedious process of selecting the DXCC entities that I still needed. Apparently, you can let the system run down your log and build the list for you, but I chose to do it the hard way and manually select the entities I needed. It was a lengthy (but also healthy) exercise. Much easier than having to learn and perform that automatic log method LOL!

A quick test revealed that everything was working and that I was good to go. So, now I receive notifications in my ham shack when a DXCC entity I need shows up on the digital horizon.




Prices

OCTOBER 07, 2022


Prices

10/06/22 10:20 AM

We had plans and got out early, but our plans fell through. With that in mind, we just stopped by a grocery store to pick up a few things we needed.

My wife commented on a few good deals she found, but also on the generally high prices that seemed to be everywhere. Those prices have been going up and up with no end in sight and it's all happened in a very unexpected manner.

Some of the doom-and-gloom prophets have been predicting a dire situation that would creep up on us without our even knowing it. I guess we all translated that to be a stock market crash or something of that magnitude.

But consumer prices have done exactly what those guys were predicting. And, they've crept up to a level none of us could have anticipated. And, guess what else? It's all happened pretty quickly as also predicted.

It's pretty hard to predict something for which everyone will start watching out. I guess it's not that hard when everyone has been looking in the wrong place.

And now that we've changed our focus from the stock market to consumer prices, we've probably set ourselves up for a stock market crash. After all, things like that only seem to happen when we're watching something else. Right?

So where do we go from here?




Ham Radio Awards

OCTOBER 06, 2022


Ham Radio Awards

10/06/22 07:50 AM

I've taken on some challenges in the ham radio world that have kept me pretty busy! I've received several awards in the past and am trying to 're-earn' those awards once again in this new location. I'm not actually going to 're-receive' them, but am going to ensure I qualify for them based on my operations in this new location.

Included in that list of awards that I've already earned are Master of North America, Master of South America, Master of Europe, Worked all States, Worked all Continents, and the ever-important DXCC, which represents working 100+ countries (or entities as they are more formally known since places like Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and others, geographically qualify as entities despite being part of the USA.)

In addition to those awards that I have already received, I'm working to earn the other two major awards. One is for entities in the region of Asia and the second is for entities worked in the Oceania Region. Those are far more difficult since the qualifying entities in each are so far away. For example, the Oceania region includes so many locations in and around Australia and New Zealand.

Some guys with far more expensive setups are trying to earn each award on each radio band. I'm just trying to earn the awards in a mixed bag across all bands. That's as far as I'm willing to go in terms of the effort, radios, and antenna systems, that would be required to take awards to the next level and attempt to work all entities on a specific band.

I've already put a lot more time and effort into this than I ever expected to, but I'm having a great time - which is what it is really all about. It's so technical and there's always so much to learn. The Twitter community of hams has been incredibly helpful, as has Google and other ham-specific online systems.




My Soulmate

OCTOBER 05, 2022


Soulmate

10/05/22 08:20 AM

I wasn't sure what the real definition of soulmate might be and whether it is one word or two. It's interesting how I go to Google to grab an online dictionary and often find that I'm far from alone in my word struggle.

I'm usually well aligned with Merriam-Webster but on this one I find that the Collins online dictionary better suits my way of thinking. Let's go to Merriam-Webster first:

1: A person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament.
2: A person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs.

I like it, but I feel much better aligned what Collins has to say:

A soulmate is someone with whom you share a close friendship and deep personal understanding.

I just did a blog search on the word soulmate and read all of the posts where I mentioned it. Some of them were about special days like Holidays and others were where I just spoke of it in passing.

Either way, I'm so grateful for my soulmate and the times we so often sit down and share things at such a deep level. I've always believed that our spouse should also be our best friend, but only as time has passed have I begun to see that in such a way, and at such a level, that I truly understand what it means.




Retired Life

OCTOBER 04, 2022


Retired Life 2

10/04/22 03:00 PM

The picture above reflects the hopes and dreams I had for retirement. And believe me when I say my hopes and dreams have been greatly exceeded!

Today seemed like a busy day. However, in truth I got my chores done, squeezed in a weight training workout and a run, and spent a lot of time in front of the ham radio managing to work several new countries.

I'm not sure that I accomplished a lot, but that's one of the nice things about retirement. For the most part, you get to pick your battles. Every now and then something comes along and demands my time, attention, and perhaps even my credit card. But, those are usually few and far between.

These days I don't spend as much time in front of the TV as I thought I would. I tend to lean more toward all that the world of ham radio has to offer.

But, I'm a sucker for a good Hallmark movie and set aside $6 a month in our budget to include the Hallmark Movies channel in our TV watching lineup.

Last night, after I turned off the ham radio, I found a good Hallmark movie entitled Love at First Glance. It was a great story and a nice and easy-going way to wrap up another wonderful day of retirement.




Culture Shift

OCTOBER 03, 2022


Politics 1

10/03/22 07:30 AM

It's Monday and our first start to a full new week in October. We're also only about 36 days away from the elections. I would mention Halloween, but no kids live up this way. As such, I think that one's going to come and go without fanfare.

So, back to my mention of the elections. I guess that's going to be the big deal around here in the weeks to come. Will the conservative Republican party be able to unseat enough Democrats to take back over the majority positions in the US House and Senate?

In my humble opinion, and I'm sure the humble opinion of many others, we need to do that to slow down, or completely stop, Biden's unhinged efforts. I'm amazed at what the Democrats are willing to do and to put up with in their push to change the culture.

We're in desperate need of taking control and moving the culture back to the right just a bit. I'm not talking about a looney right, but a more conservative right.

I hope we can pull it off. There's so much at stake.




Haunted Icemaker

OCTOBER 02, 2022


Haunted icemaker

10/02/22 07:25 AM

Yesterday, I mentioned some needed repairs for items such as the garage door and the icemaker. Well, I've got a guy coming out tomorrow (Monday) to fix the garage door, and I intentionally left off calling anyone about the icemaker.

You see, the icemaker has acted in a haunted manner. It works when it wants to and it quits when it isn't interested in making ice. Which of those two directions it takes is a function of its haunted nature.

Well, the truth is that every time our icemaker has quit making ice, it has finally turned around and started back to making ice again. We had no idea when or why it might happen.

My dear wife, ever the faithful researcher on Google, decided to get to the bottom of its haunted nature and found out a simple reset on the icemaker would probably get it going again. And, if the reset button couldn't be found, unplugging power would likely accomplish the same thing.

Problem is that the tight location of the refrigerator doesn't really allow for finding reset buttons since we can't get the door to open far enough to fully access the icemaker. And, I've had bad experiences with pulling out refrigerators and with it springing a leak on the icemaker water feed line. I'm just too new to everything here at the house to go that route.

But then I had a stroke of genius. What about shutting power to the unit at the fuse panel? I went out to the garage and opened the fuse panel door to discover fuses for both the refrigerator and the icemaker. I shut down power to the icemaker but with no success.

I went back and shut down power to the entire unit and left it off for about ten minutes. After all, things inside weren't going to spoil that fast.

I switched power back on at the fuse panel and we went about our business with great hope that our haunted icemaker would decide to make ice once again.

Sometime later, my better half informed me that she heard water feeding to the icemaker. A few hours later, I pushed the dispenser lever very quickly and was presented with a single piece of ice.

Viola! Our haunted icemaker had decided to go back to work and didn't seem so haunted anymore.




October!

OCTOBER 01, 2022


October

10/01/22 06:40 AM

Well, it's a new month! And with a new month comes a busy season in the web development side of the house. There are new test pages to be built. Along with that, there's new archives and primary pages to be built. There are new labels to be affixed and a whole load of other new things to be constructed.

It's property tax season too. Statements are mailed out the first of October here in Ohatchee. And, the yard cutting season is also coming to an end.

We're just over a week away from our three-month anniversary here in the new house, (new to us anyway!) and with it there are some odds and ends to take care of such as repairs on the garage door opener and the ice maker.

The winds and Fall chill are already in the air and we're looking forward to the kind of lower temps we haven't experienced since we lived in Douglasville. Elections are just around the corner and Thanksgiving and Christmas are waiting in the aisles.

There are so many good things yet to come before we wrap up 2022 and start our journey into 2023!

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