Friday, November 29, 2013

Do You Think I'm Saxy?

I've been toying with the idea of taking up a wind instrument again. I played a good deal when I was younger on my fathers cornet but I never learned to play it with proficiency. I came across a tenor sax and my friends place that he never followed through on while in band. He said it felt more like work than fun because of the strict band mentality, something he was happy to shake off when he graduated. I came across it looking through various boxes in his attic and it started me thinking of that coronet again. Not for learning the cornet but learning to play the sax because the sax can talk to you if you know how to listen to it.It speaks through emotions created with sound. It reminded me of when I used to listen to Tom Scott with my friends that were into Jazz when I was younger. One way to get into learning to play is to find some cheap saxophones. With a cheap one I can mess around with it while learning and work up to a really good model when my skills reach the point of making a serious investment into a quality instrument! Kenny G would probably have an easy time with an inexpensive horn but the Tenor sax isn't what I'm leaning towards. I want to learn to play the Alto sax, not the straight tenor like Kenny G(sound is too high for me) and not a Baritone sax(sound is too heavy for me), like many of the best Jazz musicians and many of the recent and not so recent pop players like Timmy Cappello, who played for Tina Turner, as well.

Why Are They Changing My Signs at Work?

I went to work the other day and found that I no longer knew how to get out of the building. Due to the fact that we do employ a number of 'other language' people we needed to sign the building for them to know how and where to go to leave the building. What? They have had no problem finding the doors before this and nobody ever complained about it because they knew enter signs and exit signs looked like and they understood the wording but someone got a hold of a little used county ordinance that required us to put up new signing. I have no problem with bilingual signs anywhere. If it gets everybody to observe the same rules I'm all for it. Really! My issue is why they took down the required English signs to do it. Over 95% of the people who tour our facility are English speaking and would need to know where to go if suddenly there was smoke or fire present. Right? Of course I'm right. I'm thinking that these English speaking administrators should maybe become English reading administrators. The ordinance that they posted said they were required to post 'bi-lingual' emergency signing in the building. When I get my paycheck this week I think I better cash it right away! lol

Putting Ideas Together for Kitchen Renovation

Most of the emphasis that's been going on for the kitchen make-over has been either flooring or counter tops. The flooring has taken a turn from wood to either a high-end vinyl product or a non slip ceramic tile. The style will be Tuscan regardless of the material. The counter tops I want to be granite for appearance and especially durability. Marble is out due to potential stain issues from spills. What I want to do while the counter are topless is to replace the bottom slides in the drawers with drawer glides on the sides as they're far more reliable than anything else to use. Besides, everything will be exposed and these drawer glides will be a snap to install. It doesn't get much easier, unless the new counters come in under projected time so I'll need to devote a day or two for just this and if I finish early I'm sure my wife will have other things on her Honey Do list! Did I mention that I need to install a new dishwasher yet? Something else for the list, when finances permit.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Her Christmas Wishlist

I had one item I saw on a television advertisement that caught my attention. Why did it do that? It's because it stopped my wife from completing her sentence till the advert was over. I never knew she would be the type of gal that went in for charm bracelets but boy was I wrong. I asked other women at work about them and they gave me an education on why they're desired and how pretty they are and how they like to compare bracelets and charms with other women and so forth. Okay, I guess I kind of get it. I'm a huge fan of watches and she likes bracelets. The charm bracelet happened to be called a Pandora, as well as the store itself was the commercial sponsor, in case I happen to live near a city where they're located, otherwise I could obtain one with whatever charms I/she wanted online. Evidently you can get charms from cities around the world as depicted with famous well know things that when you see them you know where they're from, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris(which I've never been to). I guess this will be the show stopper for her Christmas this year. Hopefully they'll still have enough to go around.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Social Networks and Networking Portals

Sometimes menial, sometimes meaningful, sometimes meaningless! This is how I would sum up social networking sites like Twitter, Tweetup, etc. There are so many venues to chose from for this human outlet and the number is growing daily. First off, don't get the idea that I am bashing these sites, I am not! I, as a matter of fact, think they have a useful purpose in todays busy society where direct human interaction can be next to impossible!

Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Google, Yahoo, Technorati, Twitter, Tweetup, on and on and on!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Poison Proofing Garage Cabinets

I have a new problem in the house that I never had prior to now, a 9 year old nephew! No, the nephew isn't the issue but rather a cause for concern because he's here. I do all my own lawn work which also includes fertilizers and herbicides(poisons)! I keep these chemicals in a cabinet in the garage along with measuring cups and all my relevant paperwork on mixtures of these chemicals! Of course, he's like I was at age 9, he has to get into and handle everything! My yard cabinet was not going to be one of the 'hands on' fixtures he was going to experience. I hadn't even given it an extra thought till I saw him reaching into the cabinet one day and that was enough. I searched the web for some kind of non-locking fastener that he wouldn't be able to get to, let alone see. I found some fasteners on the Reids website that were perfect for the top of this cabinet that I could adjust so he couldn't easily reach or trip open on his own. I was able to mount 4 pull action clamps on the top of the cabinet(2 per door) and adjust for good tension and I also removed the handles from the front. Aside from putting a padlock on the cabinet I think it's pretty protected from accidental access now.

Carrie In The Coffee House! A Must See!

The Company BBQ Redux

I wrote about our company BBQ last month and was still trying to figure out why I decided to help out. Someday I may realize why but that's another story. Just yesterday I got some "helpful and friendly" feedback from someone who was being 'helpful', not. What I got was some criticism on the equipment that was used and how it pertained to speakers, people not equipment, that didn't know how a mic works and what you should not do with a mic,like dropping it or 'wet' talking while drinking beer! Enough said on that point! The bottom line was that we had to replace one of the good mics because of behavior like this and also because I didn't obtain the best mic spit screen I could get but rather an okay mic windscreen. I don't know if I'll be able to get the dent out of the mic head, not that it matters that much because it still smells like a brewery! I'm hoping I don't have the need to post any further developments on this topic and yes, I did procure a new mic and a quality mic windscreen that musicians use(they know abuse). Now if I can procure decent users of this equipment I'll be doing great!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pledge of Allegiance vs. Freedom of Speech?

I was just reading a story my wife forwarded to me regarding a teacher at the Explorer School in Spring Hill, Florida, that 'laid hands' on a student for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in her class. According to the report that was published in Hernando Today by Matt Reinig, "Teacher Anne Daigle-McDonald grabbed the student's wrist and directed him to do the pledge on Sept. 11, according to the investigation.". The student, who is Jehovah's Witness and prohibited by the religion from worshiping objects, refused on religious grounds, the investigation found.

Other children in the class corroborated the students allegations regarding the incident as it happened. Ms. Daigle-McDonald stated, in her defense of the allegations when questioned about them, "she thought the religion applied only to holidays, but said she did not attempt to contact the student's parents for clarification" and "she did not think it was good practice to regularly place hands on students, and that she feels strongly as a citizen of the United States that one should show respect to the flag."

The teacher was removed from student contact, and placed on alternative assignment on Sept. 12, according to the article.

I believe the Constitution has a very profound reason for being relevant in this country but many seem to think in simple minded terms about the document and what meaning it really has for Americans. It's not a piece of paper that we either salute, or hold our hand over our heart for, it's a life lesson in progress that we have turned backwards in out haste to prove what good citizens we can be by lashing out at anyone who "breaks a rule"! The Constitution is a guide book, and a rule book. It was written as a guide to building a fair and impartial government where all people has a say and are free to express themselves without fear of retribution from their government. The rule book aspect is in place to make sure people don't get 'run over' by zealous pundits or power grabbers that want to control people. Some people haven't read and understood the document, they've just looked at the Cliff Notes for it!

The Constitution of the United States of America allows, and protects, anyone who wants to call the President an asshole, who wants to wear the flag on their pants or even make a pair of pants out of the flag, who wants to burn our flag, and even anyone who does not want to be involved in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance! The founding fathers knew that this was going to be a great nation one day and didn't want the harsh nature of an oppressive government to keep it's citizens crushed by it, so they stated their freedoms that they knew they needed to clarify and specify, as best they could for the ages. Some have outgrown their need and original purpose and others are just as relevant today as they were then. The Freedom of Speech also means the freedom NOT to speak as well. All good citizens of this nation need to make sure that if a child chooses not to recite the pledge, that most schools no longer do anymore, it's their protected right and we need to make sure they can exercise that right so that these rights are never removed from us! After 911, we lost too many Rights and we gave them away with a cheer! What a mistake that was!

Un-American? No, I don't think it is. The un-American thing to do would be to suppress his right to decline a pledge that is against her beliefs. Isn't that what America was all about from the beginning? Freedom from an oppressive, single-minded, system? Some of the comments people put make me wince at what some believe a real American should do. I understand that military people would be quite put out by this 'disrespect' of the flag because they were, and are, expected to lay down their lives for this country which is represented by our flag. In the same token, what they're laying down their lives really for is to protect the rights of people who also wish to decline tradition, also known as the American way of life!

What is the Pledge of Allegiance and who started it? That's easy. It was written by a Socialist, that's right a SOCIALIST, in August 1892, who also happened to be a Baptist minister(see here). The Pledge was also part of a promotion from a magazine company to "sell flags to schools and magazines to students". Doesn't sound too Patriotic so far, more Capitalistic if anything! "The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a Socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. Liberty and justice for all? Not hardly from these people, unless you were White and male! "The United States Congress officially recognized the Pledge for the first time, in the following form, on June 22, 1942". Looks like the war made people think about who their neighbors may be and needed a way to weed them out. Guess what? A real traitor or spy would be happy to recite the pledge just to blend in. This was strictly for the masses to police themselves for 'suspects that may be un-American in nature'!

Who is right and who is wrong, under the laws of our great nation? "In 1940 the Supreme Court, in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, ruled that students in public schools, including the respondents in that case, Jehovah's Witnesses who considered the flag salute to be idolatry, could be compelled to swear the Pledge. A rash of mob violence and intimidation against Jehovah's Witnesses followed the ruling. In 1943 the Supreme Court reversed its decision, ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that public school students are not required to say the Pledge, concluding that "compulsory unification of opinion" violates the First Amendment. In a later case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held that students are also not required to stand for the Pledge.

Did this teacher act as a law abiding American citizen by trying to force a small child into doing something against his religion to show respect for the American flag? No, not at all. In fact she violated laws that were set in place to protect Americans that have restrictions put upon them for various reasons. Were her intentions good? No, again, it was not her place to make such an 'on the spot' ruling without knowing the rules regarding the act in progress.

In conclusion, it's not how you talk to a piece of cloth that makes you a good and patriotic citizen of this great land but rather how you behave as one of it's citizens and how you respect and uphold the laws of the land that determine you're status as a 'good' American! Condemnation by opinion is not how this nation should be run and that's why we have our freedoms on paper and justices to enforce their meanings!

Article sources: Hernando Today reported by Matt Reinig and Wikipedia for Pledge of Allegiance history data. Thank you both!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why Did I Ask To Help Out?

That's right, why did I ask to help out at the company BBQ for our customers? I should have known but I wanted to help and for some reason, maybe because I work with a band doing setup's that maybe I knew a little bit more about sound than they did. So I was picked to buy some sound equipment for the speakers that were coming in to talk about the products we sell. They said they needed to be heard about 100 feet away with clarity and they didn't have a 'low ball' amount directed at me to stay within for the equipment, since it would be used frequently at several labs in the Southeast, the one I'm at and others.

I consulted with my other employer about wireless mikes, monitors, filters for speakers so they don't 'pop' when they talk, and wireless controllers. That was my shopping list(without the specifics but whoa be to those that didn't buy the right stuff)! He said the best part was that he could go out onto a protruding stage and still be clear sounding as opposed to dragging a lengthy cord for his guitar AND microphone!

I put together a list with prices and expedited shipping, got the purchase order approved, and placed the order. No more volunteering for me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

GOP in Crisis!

Why is the GOP in crisis? Lol, this is going to be a very short article indeed because the answer is very short and very 'to the point'! It's the GOP versus the Tea Party, within the same, or at least we all thought it was, party! The current 'Republican' Party has officially agreed to disagree and thereby made them 2 separate and smaller political parties, with an election year coming up and a Presidential election 2 years after that. Given the current state of affairs the Democrats can probably expect more wins in the future, unless the Dems splinter into the Dem party versus the Coffee Party?

With the GOP and the Tea Party spending so much time trying to repeal health care(41 times to date) for the people that can't afford it, the rest of the country's business, like the budget, has gone by the wayside! They want to shut down the government again to force the repeal of Obamacare, or is it Romneycare(I forget sometimes, they're so similar)! Who suffers? Not them, they still get their paychecks whereas the furloughed government employees will not! Whether you like government employees or not, they're still part of the overall employment picture in the country, in fact every country. You may not like how many there are but most are still needed to run the country, regardless of who is in the White House!

God bless America

Oh yes, don't forget Ted Cruz and his green eggs and ham filibuster? I guess that's what he thought it was. I think he just likes Dr. Seuss!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Shoes, Barack Obama Flip Flops!

Want to try on some new shoes? They're getting a lot of wear lately and they really should be. Their called Barack Obama Flip Flops because they represent the Presidents foreign policy on Syria and other aligned countries! Way back when this situation in Syria started, before the Sarin exposures, the President was making loud talk on the need to stop anti-humanitarian acts under the Assad regime in Syria. The GOP was pushing for another charge into the Middle East to get a foothold in the region in the event that Iran moved forward with it's nuclear weapons testing and created instability in the region. Russian President Putin told President Obama to stop and not do anything, just wait and talk. Obama did neither.

The real reason we wanted to hold missiles over the head of Assad was to show Iran that we would intervene if they produced nuclear weapons or became actively aggressive in the region. Not for humanitarian reasons. I don't believe that for one second!

The GOP wanted another chance to earn some defense contractor cash so they wanted to go into Syria and create contractor revenues, that they could share($500,000 for a speaking fee? George W is doing a few speaking tours for cash these days). Obama became so aggressive about it that the American people rose up, even though a neurotoxin was used on Syrian civilians, also called rebels! The words used were "alleged" and "suspected" when pointing the finger of blame at Assad. He very well may have initiated the attack but nobody has concrete proof they're willing to come forward with to support an unprovoked attack by us on them!

Congress wanted a say in attacking Syria and when Obama relented and gave into public pressure to do so he gave the decision to Congress to make and they didn't. Next year is an election year and people don't vote politicians that want to go to war for no good reason, after all the years of war we've already had in the Middle East!

Who became the white knight in the end? Who pulled Barack Obama out of the fire? Russian President Putin is who! The one who said to hold off and wait and talk got his way in the end as the great peacemaker between the U.S. and Syria. So sad nobody read the history books once again and stopped history from repeating itself in a new situation.

What would have, should have, been the correct course of action for the President to take? Look at who Syria is allied with. What strong nation is supplying them with support and arms. That's who he should have went to first to settle the problems there, diplomatically! Now Putin is looking the hero and Obama looking weak! Even Iran's new leadership has expressed a desire to get along with the west better, for their sake.

Somebody call John Kerry back to the White House and give him this week's story to pitch to the world. He's been late every time with the current news so far! He was talking bombs when Obama was talking about Congressional control on the decision to attack or talk!

Oh yes, did I fail to mention that the side we were going to shoot missiles for, the poor rebels(why did that rebel General eat that human heart?) were controlled by Al-Qaeda? How doesn't this government not know that we would be, essentially in bed, with Al-Qaeda, after fighting against them all these years? Are they really that stupid or are we, for allowing them to even consider backing them? That would make all those civilian and military deaths meaningless and that's wrong!

John McCain's Waffle House

I used to be confident that John McCain was a war hawk and a far right politician. He's ruining my idea of the perfect war-crat! First he says we need to go into Syria, then he says we need to have boots on the ground to help the poor citizens of Syria against the despot Assad! The he went and blew my mind by agreeing with Barack Obama on a strategic bombing and missile targeting on key Syrian positions(which Assad proceeded to move into civilian areas with all the advanced warning like Saddam did in Iraq from watching CNN)! Now, he wants to back off from military intervention completely! He goes from 'give me a gun and a parachute' to 'we need to talk and resolve this'! Where is he coming from and who has their hand up grandpa's arse that's making his mouth move? The GOP originally wanted a say in what happens in Syria, they pretty much demanded it, and when the President handed it off to them, AS THEY WANTED, they clammed up and didn't know what to do. Maybe they should have kept their mouth's shut and Obama would have handed it all to them when he failed in his missile diplomacy attempt! They just never look back in time to find the proper course for the present. They should because in American politics history ALWAYS repeats itself!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wolverine! You Have Competition Now! Kind Of!

Gold! Who Doesn't Like Gold?

Well, I for one am not a huge fan of gold. I think gold is a great item to own but everyone knows what it looks like and will often take drastic steps to take the gold you have and give it to themselves. With gold prices up the way they are it seems that everyone looking to make a fast buck will get rid gold for cash any way they can, even sometimes if it isn't their gold to sell. Once the gold is sold it's melted down to base metals and turned into bullion that can never be traced back to it's original form, or owner if stolen. I prefer platinum because it doesn't stand out like gold but has a high value in jewelry form. It's an attractive metal and can be made into the same things that gold and silver can be made into. Platinum rings and necklaces are very durable and possess good value for the money, not to mention the value associated with them later on down the road. A good purchase indeed. Like I said before, platinum doesn't have the high price appearance that gold does so you can wear that high end jewelry without the fear of someone wearing visible gold. Very nice indeed.

AT&T Gives You More, Kind Of!

Language may not be for younger viewers!

Blue Screen Of Death Crashes

I've been suffering with the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death screens for too long now. I copy the reason code, usually 0x00000101, that has so many meanings that it's meaningless now! I've tried many utilities and they all tell me that the system is fine, but they're wrong and I wasted money on them. Money not wasted went to a really good back-up program and a good system program. I saw the story about how I could speed up my PC with System Mechanic and I thought it was another gratuitous grab for my cash but between the back-up program and this one I haven't had a blue screen event in days(knock on wood for saying it) and I'm happy and confident I won't get let down during an important transaction on-line and lose my work. One thing I won't do is recommend a product that doesn't work. I think that when you do that it will come back on you and I don't need that in my life. I've been using System Mechanic for several years and it's never disappointed me. On the other side of the coin, I recommended a product that I stood by for years only recently finding out it was contributing to system problems I was having because it was acting like a virus, or malware. It took me a while to erase all traces or it and to start deleting the renewal requests I was getting from the company. A stable system is all I need for my continued happy computing.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Printing at Home for Business or Professionally.

It's a tough decision these days when you have a start-up business whether to use a professional printer to do your >print letterhead, signage, business cards and the like or to take the risk and print them at home/home office. I've always been a fan of printing off my trusty inkjet printer and have used many, many different fonts in the past, and present as well but this is a bit different. This is your source of income and you can only make a first impression once and then it's gone forever! Placing your best face forward and getting a good professional stationary job done can create that 'can do!' or 'can do?' appearance for potential customers. If your stationary looks amateur then your potential work could be looked upon in the same light. Best to pay a bit more and get it done right with the best graphics now than scramble later doing damage control when business slips away for no apparent reason!

Jobs Growth During Adversity

People naturally think that because the economy is depressed, not depression, that the entire jobs picture is bleak. Well, it really isn't because the worst of times also brings a windfall of work for those that are prepared to take advantage of the need for their services. When I say services I'm referring to legal services. People are experiencing foreclosure issues, credit issues, unemployment issues, etc and the people on the other end of your diminished situation are not very understanding when their money doesn't come forth. I've been seeing in print advertisements and television spots as well for services like free consultation bankruptcy, free foreclosure legal advice, and free credit counseling consultations, to name but a few here. It is wise and beneficial to take advantage of these consultations because they may help keep you out of a worse situation when the creditors start to threaten. Look around and shop for the best service you can afford, and some are even free!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Florida Sinkholes and a Possible Cause

I'm not an Engineer or a soil expert, I'm a resident of a sinkhole state - Florida. What's so unique about Florida and why there are so many sinkholes here? That's something a professional geologist could explain in probably 10,000 words or less, maybe more. Here are the basics as I understand them.

1. Florida is a giant peninsular of sand, underground water, and limestone. Under the sand lies the great depth of limestone with large aquifers of drinking water interspersed around the entire state, some areas larger than others, much larger.

2. Florida, in the last 15+ years has seen extensive shifts in the underground water tables due to drought that reduces the table and hurricanes along with other more 'normal' weather that serve top raise the tables.

What does this mean in layman's terms? I'm sure there's a difficult answer but I'm going to cut through the chaff and give the simplest answer - subterranean erosion! When the water tables are up there is a constant saturation of the limestone and the pressure of limestone and water make for a stable surface tension - no collapsing of the land. When the table raises and lower too frequently erosion of the limestone will occur as the water basically washes the limestone to the bottom of the aquifer and thins the sides and top of the 'bubble' that used to be contained with water and limestone together. To better provide a more visual example of this try to remember one of those Science Channel or Modern Marvel shows that show how a train, or subway, tunnel is created by hollowing out the soil under a city or whatever. The one thing you always see them do during construction is to constantly put reinforcement up to the roof of the tunnel being created with cement and steel bars. Why? It's because when you hollow out underneath supportive soil you weaken it to the point of collapse. In a roundabout way, causing a man-made sinkhole when the roof finally collapses, which is inevitable and is guaranteed to happen! The further tunneling will cause ground vibrations that will coax the soil to loosen and collapse. True? Let me apply this to Florida's sinkhole problem then. Florida had a home building boom several decades ago when things were pretty stable, weather wise, and the ground soil was pretty stable as well with water tables at normal levels with limestone and water existing in perfect harmony. Changes to the soil went pretty much unnoticed underground due to the stable structure of the supporting matrix of liquid and solid. What I'm going to express next is based on what I've seen and heard that have brought me to my conclusion of this circumstance, strictly my opinion of what I believe to be true and worth noting for home construction and after market construction purposes.

This is what I'm seeing and hearing but nobody seems to be admitting.

1. Homes built (with or without pools) PRIOR to the last big drought seem to be at the lowest risk from the majority of sinkholes unless the house is in the proximity of new construction, either housing or business,

2. Homes built during, or after, the drought appear to be at the highest risk for sinkhole effects (with or without pools),

3. Homes built (without pools) PRIOR to last big drought that have constructed pools AFTER the end of the drought appear to have a significantly higher risk of developing a sinkhole.

What hypothesis did I end up with given these points? In my opinion, houses built when the aquifers were 'normal' appear to be at little, if any, risk of developing a sinkhole on or around their property unless heavy equipment construction has taken place within a close vicinity of that property. The reason being is that the limestone under the house has, if a bubble did indeed exist on that spot, remained stable due to the lack of a catalyst effecting the stability of the soil, thereby not disturbing the 'shell' under the house. Adding a pool after the drought in turn will disturb the tension of the under lying soil and potentially cause a collapse of the once rigid structure underground. In a given example imagine putting a 5lb weight on an egg and walking away. What happens to the egg? Nothing, because the structure is stable, What happens to the egg with the weight when you hit it with a hard object on the side? The weight will collapse in on the egg! Why? You've effected the stability and tension of the bubble(shell) and the load bearing ability of it will be destroyed. It's a simplistic example but easy to picture in ones mind. The most likely suspects that will effect this damage are the vibration, impact, and subsequent weight applied to the ground with the heavy equipment and tons of cement applied to the soil that were never there before when the ground was stable. New home construction after the drought, with or without a pool is irrelevant, is more likely to result in a later sinkhole if there is a significant underground void on that site. The aforementioned equipment and aggregate weight would be a contributing factor in the destabilization of the subterranean structure where a void existed or limestone decomposition has already occurred where the return of water counter pressure is no longer a factor in the soil stability, making a lower risk area into a higher risk home site.

One possible band-aid may be to utilize ground penetrating radar to determine if a building site is at risk for a sinkhole by ascertaining, through scientific means, the detection of a nearby void. It's not rocket science but it's better than watching your worldly possessions get swallowed into a giant hole in the ground.

As I've stated above, I've come to these conclusion while living amongst sinkholes and seeing the properties that have been effected and what's different about them from sinkhole to sinkhole. These are my opinions and I think that I'm pretty close to being on the mark with the conclusions I've made. Older homes with or without original construction pools don't seem to get hit as often as homes adding pools to older homes or new homes being built, with or without pools.

Please leave your opinions to my article as I like to hear from people that have additional contributing data.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Good Side Effect of Getting Gout!

Well, there is no good side effect s with Gout but there are some 'perks' we'll say. One of the perks is for the body, not necessarily the mind. You actually need to start watching what you eat and drink. Many foods and beverages I used to partake have become taboo now else a flare will occur and the ensuing pain in my foot will remind me that I screwed up. Red meat is one of my sob stories in fact. Red meat is one of the prime Purine foods that allow uric acid to accumulate in the blood to such a point that crystals will form in a particular area of the body, usually the big toe of the foot in particular. In my case it's the entire top of my foot which wraps under the foot as well. My last doctor told me it was Plantar fasciitis, which I spent a lot of money on to alleviate with good supportive shoes and sneakers along with pricey insoles, that still offered no relief except a minimal amount at the beginning of the day. My new doctor diagnosed me with Gout and confirmed it with blood work(I won't have a crystal biopsy as it's a bit painful). I know this is what I have because the medicine and diet have removed all the pain I was getting for so long. That's why she's my NEW doctor, if you haven't guessed that already.

Now, the benefits of Gout. That really doesn't sound right but since I'm being good with my treatment it is right! First off, I've stopped shopping for plus size bathing suits and began shopping for regular sized ones due to my appreciable weight loss, finally! Another plus is that my blood work has taken a marked turn for the better, much better! All of it, not just a couple of tests. All in all it was getting to be a big concern for me since I'm now in my mid fifties and weight with blood work in the near red is harder to reverse at this age, let alone later on. On top of all of this I quit smoking over six years ago and haven't looked back since. Is a long life assured for me? Nobody knows that one but all else aside I'm trying to stack the deck a lot better than before in my favor.!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Trying to Expand and Embelish My Newest Website

I've been working on a new website on a stand alone server that can accommodate the reproduction of photographs for registered viewers that appreciate the art of sail. More specifically, the Napoleonic Era and the British Maritime traditions in, naval warfare and the ships that were employed by the British at that time. I've had such a hard time over the years to acquire artwork that embraces this age and at best it's been difficult, at worst impossible. I have a desire to possess paintings, or reproductions of paintings, of fighting ships in action on the high seas. The first thing I needed to do was to obtain an inventory for registered users to access and then find a choice of web 2 print solutions for the actual transfer to the users to print them for their own personal use, not for a commercial enterprise. The difficult part is actually finding the work to offer people such as myself. I've seen stately paintings over fireplaces showing ships of the line doing battle but they're a bit out of my price range. Reproductions are the better way to go for most of us and if a large print is desired and the user has access to large equipment then the web 2 print option is perfect. If they don't they can load the file and go to where someone can print it to their specs. Win, win!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston on high alert after marathon bombing

By Bill Dedman, Richard Esposito and Tracy Connor, NBC News

Boston was on high alert early Tuesday as the FBI took over the hunt for whoever set off two powerful bombs at the finish line of the city's marathon, killing at least three people and wounding at least 140 people in a vicious blizzard of shrapnel, officials said.

"I am not prepared to say we are at ease at this point in time," Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said at a briefing six hours after the attack transformed the celebrated race into a blood-spattered crime scene.

The bombs were filled with ball bearings that sprayed into the crowd when they exploded, law enforcement officials told NBC News. The dead included an 8-year-old boy, law enforcement officials said, and some victims lost limbs.

In total, 116 patients were being treated at six local hospitals as of 2 a.m. ET. They included 31 at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, of which two were in a critical condition, and 10 at Boston Children’s Hospital, where an official told the Boston Globe the youngest patient was three years old.

At an evening briefing, officials said the National Guard had cordoned off the area to preserve evidence. Commuters were warned their bags would be searched.

Long after nightfall, investigators were inspecting the mounds of personal belongings left by those fleeing to scene to make sure there were no more explosives, while firefighters were chasing bomb scares around the jittery city. SWAT team members were on patrol at several hotels in the Back Bay area.

Water cannons were used to clear a number of suspicious packages near the scene. A fire at the John F. Kennedy presidential library more than an hour after the blasts appeared to simply be caused by an electrical short, police said.

Early Tuesday, a dozen law enforcement officials searched an apartment at 364 Ocean Avenue in the north Boston suburb of Revere, removing two trash bags and a duffle bag. However, it was not clear whether the police activity was connected to the bomb investigation.

Two men, one of whom told reporters he was Saudi, attended the apartment building during the search. The local fire department said officials were searching for a “person of interest” and that FBI and ICE, were among the agencies involved.

Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Deval said only the streets around the bombing site would be on lockdown but he urged everyone to be vigilant.

"It will not be business as usual," he said. "It's not going to be easy, simple or regular."

The FBI said it was flooding the city with investigators from the Joint Terrorism Task Force and declined to say if agents had any suspects or clues to a motive.

"It is a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation," Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said.

Boston police issued an alert for a rental van that may have sought access to the marathon route, and another alert for a man wearing dark clothing and a hood who was seen leaving the scene of the blasts.

But as he revealed the death toll had climbed to three, Police Commissioner Ed Davis stressed that authorities had not identified a suspect and were instead "talking to" numerous people.

His comments echoed President Barack Obama's vow earlier in the day to bring the attacker or attackers to justice.

"We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts, but make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this," Obama said from the White House several hours after the blasts.

The two blasts, about 20 seconds apart just before 3 p.m. in the thick of the race, sent huge plumes of white smoke into the air, forced marathoners and spectators to run for their lives, and left a ghastly tableau on streets that had been filled with joys moments before.

The Boston Globe's Steve Silva talks to NBC's Brian Williams about the footage he shot at the moment explosions rocked the finish line of Monday's Boston Marathon.

"In 28 years, this is definitely the worst I've seen," said District Fire Chief Ron Harrington of the Boston Fire Department's District 3.

"Bodies and body parts. Blood all over. A little boy lying in the street. A young woman in her twenties. Both dead. It was mayhem. I saw two people with arms hanging loose, and one without a leg. A shoe with flesh still in it."

“All the sudden there was a massive boom. There was a sort of concussive blow that pushed a lot of people back. I could see runners falling in front of me,” said Dave Abel, a reporter for The Boston Globe who was 10 feet from one of the explosions.

“When the smoke started to clear, I could see lots of bodies,” he said. “I could see one woman staring vacantly into the sky. I could see a lot of mangled limbs, a lot of blood and shattered glass. It was probably the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen.”

The identities of the dead were not released. The Associated Press reported 144 people were injured, 17 of them critically.

Rachel Maddow updates the latest details from Boston following a press conference by Massachusetts officials and talks with Boston Globe reporter David Abel about what he witnessed standing just feet away from the initial blast at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Dr. Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, characterized the wounds as something Americans are more accustomed to seeing on the news from a military-style bombing in Iraq or Israel.

"This was a very powerful blast. There were serious, serious injuries," the police commissioner said.

Right after the explosions, police officers could be seen carrying bloody spectators to medical tents intended for exhausted runners. At Massachusetts General Hospital, the most severely hurt were rushed to operating rooms. Amputations were performed and more surgeries are scheduled for Tuesday.

The race — which drew 27,000 participants from 96 countries -- has been run since 1897 on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April, which coincided with Tax Day this year. Security experts said the FBI would undoubtedly look into the possible significance of the date as they tried to find the bomber and the motive.

Senior counter-terrorism officials involved in the case told NBC News that they had not determined whether the attack was domestic or international. Internet chatroom jihadists have made claims for credit, but they have been discounted, officials said.

Michael Leiter, MSNBC and NBC News national security analyst, and former director of the National Counter Terrorism Center Center, talks with Rachel Maddow about what the impact of the explosive devices indicates about their size, composition and intent.

Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism analyst for NBC News, said that authorities could examine residue from the blasts to determine the grade of explosive used, which could help them determine whether they're looking for a U.S.-based lone-wolf bomber or an organized foreign-sponsored terrorist cabal.

"There’s an emphasis on these soft-targeted attacks now. We’re moving away from the spectacular attacks and we’re moving into the small-grade, homegrown attacks,” he said.

Soon after the Boston tragedy, New York police deployed extra security to landmarks. Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to foot traffic, and the Pentagon tightened security.

Authorities gave a phone number for people in search of loved ones — 617-635-4520. They encouraged people with information about the blasts to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

NBC News' Pete Williams, Jonathan Dienst and Alastair Jamieson contributed to this report.

The original story can be found at this link with photos and video as well. Click here

Real Estate Is Starting To Move Upwards

Now that the real estate market is finally starting to show signs of recovery with new home sales climbing and first time buyers getting back to looking again with rates still at an all time low (3.75%) my in laws are starting to get their house in Massachusetts ready to go on the market for a move to North Carolina. Why North Carolina? I have no idea why or how they'll support themselves once there but I guess they think they'll make enough on their house sale to carry them for quite a while. The nice relative that I am(I really am) I started sending them info on homes for sale Jacksonville NC, Newport NC, Hampstead NC, and Murraysville NC. I think they, he, likes this area because of the close proximity to Myrtle Beach golfing in South Carolina. I would never buy a home based solely on a sport that someday I may not be able to play anymore, but that's just me. I'll be good and send the literature and let them decide!

2014 Will Be The Year of The Moderate Republican Party

I really believe that the end of the Tea Party is forth coming as the anger of the American people rises with the fiscal cliff getting closer by the day. The hard nosed views of the GOP, as it exists today, is a bitter pill to swallow for most Americans with little or no discretionary money in their possession as they say we should have. I recall all these Republicans stating that they were Reagan Republicans because they believed in the same ideals that Ronald Reagan did. Really? Emulating Reagan? Strong Conservative flying with a strong right wing? I don't think so for one reason in particular, ADA! That's right, the Americans with Disabilities Act! Talk about something that reeks of Socialism and ADA has to pop out of the toaster. A law designed to aid and assist people with disabilities with the Federal Government as it's enforcer? Doesn't sound very Tea Party to me, especially when the Disabilities Treaty with most of the world was struck down by the GOP of today. The Disabilities Treaty that closely emulates the ADA was unattractive to the GOP of today, that were calling themselves Reagan Republicans not that long ago.

Needed Water Softener Repairs

The last freeze we had in Tampa Bay took it's toll on my water softener. Never in my life had I ever thought that when you have several years of 50-60 degree weather in the winter that a frost, let alone a hard freeze, would occur. This past winter did my softener in, or at least the feed and return lines were done in, mostly by me unfortunately. In order to get the water in the lines to thaw so we could have running water in the house again(softener is located outside at the main because Florida doesn't freeze) I used my trusty heat gun. It melted the ice fast, as well as the hose the ice was in. Doh! I went to the local home supply store and got replacement hoses but this time I got stainless steel hose that can disperse the heat of I need to thaw the lines again. Along with this I got a water heater blanket to hold whatever heat was in the system when the temps drop in the future, which I'm sure will happen again!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

GOP Meltdown, Don't Blink Or You'll Miss It

The GOP or Grand Old Party as the initials mean(literally old) is undergoing a spectacular meltdown across America as I type. Who is to blame? That's easy, the Democrats under Barack Obama! That's right, the GOP is disintegrating because a liberal Black man is sitting in the White House and every conservative knows the White House is supposed to be for whites. Forgive me, I digress. This isn't a racial story but rather a political one and the racial aspect can wait for another article.

If you look carefully at the political agenda that the Conservatives have been addressing lately you'll see a pattern, a muddled one direction pattern, to nothing important in this country today, or for the past few years as a matter of fact!

America is sick and is trying to heal, both financially and physically(healthcare wise) and the majority of Conservatives don't want you to see what's going on to correct these situations. Let me first point out one thing to my readers. I was not always a Democrat, in fact I'm still not one today. I vote for what I deem to be the most sensible and logical plans to continue into the next 4+ years when I vote and lately it's been with the Dems. Why? Why would a former Conservative be voting a Liberal ticket? It's because I'm not a mindless automaton! I read the newspaper, I watch the news(except for Fox and MSNBC because they're too far to the right and left respectively). I see what's going on in this country and how the GOP 'smoke and mirror' politicians are trying to confuse the already confused voters into believing that the only issues today are, 1)Obama's destruction of the health care system, 2)Obama's destruction of the financial system, 3)Obama's destruction of the planned parenthood system, and 4)Obama's allegiance with Gays to destroy the institution of real marriage in America!

What I read in the newspapers and see televised through many opinions and reports is this, by the above numbers.

1) Heath care costs in America are staggering and unless put into proper perspective as far as access and price, will bankrupt anyone that enters into a long term illness or disease. Without a health care option, single payer preferred, America's problems will only expand exponentially. The fattening of America has brought with it a host of new, long term, health problems with Diabetes and heart disease at the top of the list. Both cost money in large amounts over time. How nice to work long hours to have enough to make copays(if you have insurance) on your health problems, a vicious cycle to say the least.

2) Unemployment and the financial stability of America. It must be a real drag to be sick and have no money to buy medicine or a doctors care but that's what the GOP is saying we need. What?! What we need is Americans to be healthy so they CAN work and not be disabled to drag on the economy. Most Americans want to work but don't have employment to go to! Look at Detroit as an example.

It's a ghost town! No work! No police that want to respond to crime! Crime that chases away the police! Foreclosures everywhere! Did I mention there's no employment there? Employment is like an antibiotic, once administered it starts to destroy the unemployment infection and honest people flood back in and the bad element gets forced out again. The GOP is holding back the antibiotics for employment until they can get someone in to take the credit for fixing it, while Americans wait and go hungry, get sicker, and in some cases die waiting for change!

We have nobody to blame but ourselves people! We are the voters and when we vote stupidly we get stupid representation that does nothing but try to make money and increase their power in Washington. We, the voters, have the ultimate control over this but we continue to pass the responsibility on to those that seek to harm the country out of greed and the seeking of power over others. I digress again, sorry!

3)Planned parenthood! Is that 70 year old man or woman who's yelling at the 20 something girl who got pregnant by accident the right person to be lecturing her about what she should be doing? I think not. Will they adopt this child when it's born? Not a chance! Will they directly give her support funds to care for her baby? Not a chance! What will they give her and her new, unwanted baby? A church pamphlet and directions to a church to beg for forgiveness for her sins. I think the church has gotten to entrenched into the government that it's become a cancer unto itself in the running of the country. The founding fathers of America knew this to be an issue that needed to be addressed in the forming of our government and specifically decried it as a bad thing to let happen. I agree with them. America is not a Christian country anymore! It should not be governed by Christian ethics either because of this anymore. America is Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, Unitarian, Wicca, Native American, Baha'i, New Age, Sikhism, and Deist to name but a few of the top 20 religions in America today! Don't they have a say as well? I guess not if those fat old men in Washington have a thing to say about it. Why is the President sworn in with a Bible and not the Koran or the Talmud or another religious object of religious words represented in America? It's because America is run by religious bigots, that's why! I digress again!

4) The Gaying of America by the Liberals! A 2012 Gallup Poll showed that only 4% of Americans are Gay and 96% are either not Gay or choose not to say, but that percentage would still be quite low as the fear of 'coming out' is minimal nowadays. What are the Conservatives afraid of? Do they think homosexuality is a disease that they could contract? I think some of them recently did contract it but a disease it is not. Gay marriage as a talking point is stupid. Marriage, as a religious right, is also stupid. It's all a show because the religious wedding is legally meaningless because it's the finalization of the marriage contract that holds the rule of law! The marriage license, when signed by all parties, is the only legal document of the court, not whatever God you pray to. Religion added to the service is all smoke and mirrors for the show aspect for the guests, entertainment and nothing else! Gays would like to marry as well. I don't think that I'm qualified enough to say who can and cannot be wed. I don't think anybody can. Well, so long as the species is correct that is, can't have Tom marrying his dog now can we, even if it's a bitch. Getting back on track now. There are issues even the Gays haven't fully researched I think. Yes, they can create a legal bond between each other and share finances, even insurance and property. All well and good. It also tells the other partner that they have committed themselves to the other. All well and good. If they so desire they can get a non-Catholic wedding(the Church of Rome forbids this act) in a church by and ordained head of the parish or temple of their choice. All well and good. They can HIRE entertainment, BUY licensing, PAY taxes, BUY family insurance, HIRE catering, RENT a function room, RENT/BUY wedding attire, BUY gifts for the wedding couple, BUY a trip away for a honeymoon, HIRE an attorney to set up retirement finances or establish wills, trusts, etc., and banks write MORTGAGES! Well, do you see where I'm going with this? Gays getting married is good for America. Just like heteros getting married. People are hired and things are purchased. This is how America grows and prospers! If things don't work out? Lawyers get HIRED x2, realtors SELL property, separate furniture is BOUGHT, apartments are RENTED! Just a few of the things that we all have been doing with marriage and we want to tell Gays that they're not worthy enough to help support American business? Why not? Marriage, in it's base form is a legal union of two individuals under the law. It's not a loving union blessed by a God. That's not recognized by the government as a legal agreement! Who does it hurt? The religious zealots, that's who. The small minority with the biggest mouth's, that's who. Who holds the majority to make things right and fair? We do, the voters.

What do we need to do? We need to vote out the old ideas that have been running our government for too long and bring in newer, fresher ideas that will allow us to grow back into the greatest nation in the world.

A 2009 study found that U.S. students ranked 25th among 34 countries in math and science, behind nations like China, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Finland.(a) That's another article!

Sources cited: (a)

Dot Matrix Was Useful

There are times when I truly miss my old dot matrix printer. Not the single page one I might add, but the continuous feed one with the streams of paper that would come forth when you'd print something deliberately or sometimes by accident, which seemed to happen more than desired. The one thing that these printers did best was to print banners! Yes, banners. Welcome Home, Congratulations, Get Well, Happy Retirement, whatever! The newest printers today do one sheet at a time and if you want banner printing you need to go to a specialty place that has the equipment to pull it off, far better than the dot matrix I'll concede. The days of the x's , /'s, and O's that made up the letters and background of the dot matrix printing are gone and solids, or designs, make up that domain today. It still was kind of nice to be able to do it at your desk though!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Trying To Determine Cost Versus Expense For Pool

I'm trying to determine whether it's better to continue to treat my pool with chlorine based products(eg: shock, liquid chlorine, stabilizers) or upgrade my system to a salt system. To convert I first need to replace my filter canister with a newer plastic type one that won't suffer from the long term effects of salt being present, albeit in very low concentrations. I also need to add a salt cell to the pump system that will convert a small amount of salt into cleansing chlorine for the pool, not to mention softening the water you swim in at the same time. My area pool supply shop(in Florida they're found every 5 miles)has their own brand they like to pitch but I've heard things and I did my research instead, even though the deals were good. I found a few recommended brands including the Pentair Intellichlor salt cell.

What I liked about it are simpler to understand if you ever lived in a sunny and mostly hot area before. The sun and heat do their best to destroy anything tech, especially if they're plastic based. Electronics that are outdoors don't fare well in the long term and will eventually breakdown after a limited life unless protected properly. The Pentair system does something that no other salt cell company does. They put the needed electronics on the cell rather than a separate power station so when the cell is replaced every year you also get new electronics that monitor the system with no loss of quality. The sad part is that the system is comparable in cost with other cell systems that require separate controls that suffer from heat, sun, and age over time.

This system is used for about a year and is replaced when the cell is replaced basically giving you a brand new system every time you replace the cell.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness trailer 2013

Star Wars VII News!

A Messed Up Session

I got another taste of working on a music video, albeit a small local one, and it was pretty interesting. Except. I say except for a couple of reasons, one of which was prior preparation. How much prior preparation went into making this video for a friend? It apparently wasn't enough. Camera distances and angles in the finished rushes were pitiful because it looked like someone borrowed their moms camera and started filming. The mike setup was too close and the lighting left a lot to be desired, a little too dark with shadowing on the performer. One of the issues was the masking tape for the camera and performer marks. With all the movement on the floor the tape got peeled up and replaced too many times and invariably moved to the wrong spots and when you're shooting you don't have time to keep checking the accuracy of your marks. Okay, so one of the problems was not using the best gaffer tape we could get since there would never be a chance of it pulling up with normal traffic and another was using the proper lighting. The sound, thank goodness, was spot on so we figure that we can re-shoot and edit around the gaffs and recreate the video we wanted with a few adjustments here and there. My friends younger brother wanted to be involved so we gave him the task of making sure nobody touched the gaff tape anywhere or he'd have to eat any that was moved.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gout Has Limitations and Unexpected Restrictions

For someone who's never really had any issues while walking, running, biking, or swimming, Gout can be a real misery.

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago because I thought I was having a problem with the arch in my foot. I got the pricey Scholls insert and I thought that was the end of it. I thought so until the pain didn't go away while wearing them but got a surprise when I woke up for work and couldn't stand on my foot any longer. A friend suggested that I may have Gout but I didn't think so because I was told and have read that Gout usually strikes at the joint in the big toe, my pain wrapped around my foot at the arch, up and over the top of the foot. Got the lab work back and the doctor said....of course....Gout! Then I got the really bad news, dietary restrictions or pain! I don't want the pain but some of the restrictions were painful such as beef and alcohol, especially bad was beer in any form.

That's not so bad because I'm not really a beer fan, it's the beef part that hurts. I figure if @I really want a drink I can go to a pub or something and if my foot starts hurting I can use bar clamps or something to hold me in place till I've had enough! Through talking with coworkers I've come across another preventative measure...cherry juice. Not cherry cocktail but the kind of cherry juice that has only "pressed cherries" as the only ingredient on the label! I happen to like cherries so this wasn't hard for me to do. The hard part was finding a store that sold it! My local vitamin store had one variety for almost $7 a quart but I later found a large 'healthy food' store that had a few varieties for dollars less. Score one for me. I does help and it's non-medicinal.

I'm on the standard medicine for it but that takes a while to build up and this does work in the interim.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tea Party Conservatism is Bad for America!

Eric Cantor is not a respectable congressman. Why? The people wanted the tax level set at $250K for the increase, it was compromised in the Senate for $400K and passed to the House for approval and Cantor says NO! They want to make further amendments to the agreement. In that case there is no agreement if a certain group of House members decide to go along with their contributors rather than the voters for their decisions the voters have to live with! That's very Un-American by ignoring the will of the people for the sake of their money sources! We vote to let Congress know what we want, it's up to them to figure out how to do it, not to say "No" to it, just like they did with term limits! President Obama needs to tell Congress that the deal is off if not approved as it was sent, and the amount will return to $250K like we, the voters in America, voted for. The dissenters can then explain to the voters why they don't know what they want(basically telling them that they're stupid) and that the GOP knows what Americans really want. Cantor obviously wants Boehner's position as Speaker so he figures this is the place to posture himself for the move up! So, how does this help the middle class and the unemployed, not to mention the milk drinkers of America as well since they're on the agreement also? Just as a note before I end this piece. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell agreed to this agreement in the best interest of the American people. A compromise was made on the amount of income that would be affected by the increase and Defense spending was reduced, not to mention the Farm Bill getting addressed. These two individuals have been waging a war on the President to get what their party wanted, as political parties will do, and they compromised, as political parties will do. Eric Cantor is obviously trying to satisfy those outside of Washington D.C. that are holding purse strings to get the amount raised up further and continue Defense spending in the process. The last two points are an assumption on my part as I can think of no other reason to stall this agreement. In 2014 a large number of Congressmen, and Congresswomen, will be up for re-election. If you want to stop all this posturing make your vote count and vote these people out before they damage the nation further and open a divide that may never close in our time.