Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Time, It Does Fly By

So, on the Book of Face today, there is a link to a news story out of Fort Lewis. It seems that a LTC Olsen is moving his reserve support battalion to Ft Hood for a year. It is a Reserve mobilization battalion, helps units or augmentees to prepare for deployments.

Okay, nice that we have such an organization. No, the story is that LTC Olsen was 2LT Olsen when we first met, in 1994 (?) at Engineer Officer Basic Course, Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri. That's right, Tom Olsen was in one of my first classes I taught as an instructor of Field Engineering, Camouflage, and Demolitions.

Twenty years. And he is potentially up for full Colonel soon.

My, they grow up so fast, huh?

Northwest Guardian Article

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How Do They Do It?

I blame the Book of Face. It sucks up all my writing. It is tweeting without a hashtag.
How the heck do all those bloggers out there work the free ice cream machine so, apparently, well. I mean, I follow about a dozen daily blogs and deeply appreciate that the owners can update every day. Usually more than one entry.
Of course, some are aggregates, with nothing but links. Others are writers, putting up their own essays or commentaries.
I appreciate all of them.
Mayhap I can improve my mad-writing skills by trying a bit harder to get a post up more often.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What's in Your Pockets?

A standard of most blogs is the meme of "What's in your pockets, right now"? Well, after laying the content out, here is mine:

Model 36 (w/bobbed hammer)(in a Simply Rugged holster), reload strip, Benchmade folder, Microlight Streamlight, pen, wallet, bandana, phone, key rings. Add a watch, two rings, an Episcopal Service cross, and a steel bracelet, and that's the works.

Flurries of Yawns

So, 4 Feb. Big weekend here in Ketchikan.
Wearable Art Show, RE-INVENT, was Thursday through Saturday. Sold out every show, not even tickets at the door. I am constantly amazed at the depth of talent around here. There were some terrific outfits, some showing far more time and energy than others. Two grunge kids and chunks of guitar-shaped wood, I'm looking at you. Onward to next year, the theme for 2014 is Luminescence.

Super Bowl weekend. Meh. I just waited until Sunday night to look up the commercials. I really have gotten to the point of who cares who wins. I'm loving the fact that this one will go down into the books as the "Blackout" bowl. Thinking of the millions of dollars that went into the spectacle that is Super Bowl, and they blew a fuze? For thirty-four minutes? Superdome staff should be very worried as to who looses their jobs.

Today marks the first day of road closures at the Old Hospital demolition site. The building has been sagging into the muskeg across the street from us for years. Front facade is collapsing, held in place with chain-link retaining screens. Good luck on the city ever seeing a dime in reimbursements from the demolition.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Question, question, question

Happy Marmot Day to all you Alaskans.
Weather prognostication by way of small furry mammals is still a chancy way of life. What if the observer's shadow overlays the burrow, and the marmot cannot immediately see it's own shadow? What then? If the shadow is seen later, but not at first, is it still a valid shadow for the day, or does only that first glimpse in the morning count?
It must be hard to be a forecaster, no matter what the subject.
Political pundits have it the worst. Oh, I know everyone curses the weather man, but think of the poor political pundit. They have to be right all the time to keep their validity. Miss once and there is usually a pack of rabid marmots waiting to rip them to shreds.
Only now I am seeing that the pack of rabid marmots is laying in wait for every utterance, however right or wrong. Both sides of a discussion have trained rabid marmots barely held in check, waiting for the other side to make a statement, preferably a solid statement of "fact".
Let a pundit, a politician, a talking head with thousands of followers on Tweeter or whatever, say an honest opinion and the growling, snapping, slavering pack is on them in nanoseconds. Right or wrong, doesn't matter. Shred 'em first, make 'em recoil, maybe they won't be as forthright in the future. Character assassination by noise.
Question, question, question the voices on the left, right, and center. Accept nothing as true unless proven by time and quality. Quantity of statements is not proof, especially if 90% of the statements are all same sourced. One misrepresentation leaps a thousand times in seconds, unfortunately, the retraction is never seen.
Keep the marmots in their burrows.
Question, question, question.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The House Behind Us

The house behind us has been for sale for, oh, I don't know, maybe four years. It is a small, two bedroom house with some fairly major problems. You know, plumbing (surface laid water supply line), wiring (most of basement is strung with extension cords), water (backs into a hillside that then drains right into the unfloored basement), only one (maybe two) legal fire exits, the kitchen extension was built on a deck, black mold, tiny rooms, rotting front deck, rotting staircase from street level, undersized lot, and those are just the ones that you can see when you cursorily inspect the house.
What it does have is a great sunny location and off-street parking.
The owner and his family outgrew the available space and moved to Juneau. Most of the work that he had done while living here was done by non-bonded handymen, not contractors. An example: the front deck (we call it the aircraft carrier) is built of untreated lumber, with non-code joist spacing, perched on top of mortar pillars taller than code.. That is all the pillars contain, mortar. No aggregate, no reinforcing wire or bar, just cement and sand. You can kick them in half with a stout kick. One lick of paint on the boards and is it any wonder that the deck is already rotten, with holes in the decking after only four years?
We know what the owner paid for the house about seven years ago. We are also well aware of what he is asking now. I'm not sure even a skeevy landlord would purchase this place to rent out. There are plenty of folks who would rent it, but nothing would get fixed and the likely result would be further deterioration and higher rents.
Anyone who buys this place as an investment/rental property is going to maximize the rent, because the turnover will be horrendous. We have seen that already, with five renters in two years.
Make a great spot for a community garden though.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Arias and Recitivito

I am now convinced that the whole reason satellite radio was developed is so I can listen to live Metropolitan Opera.
No, really.
Growing up in Virginia, I spent many Saturdays at my Great Aunt Mary's house. She was a life-long member of the Met Opera. We listened to the Texaco-Met Opera radio broadcasts all through the '60s. I cannot recall any of the particular shows, but the listening bug must have burrowed in deep, because there are only a few composers that I won't listen to with great appreciation. Most Wagner, for instance.
During a recent trip to Texas, I attended my first Met Opera HD broadcast at a movie theater. Live opera, on the big screen, with surround sound, intermissions, popcorn...what's not to love? The performance was Verdi's Othello, starring Renee Fleming. I am sure that there were other singers (Falk Struckmann sang a fantastic Iago), but they were all overshadowed by Ms Fleming.
I had to call Debi after the show to tell her that I had lost a small piece of my heart and that Ms Fleming held it. Her "Magnificat" or prayer to Mary was a stellar display of voice and comfort and belief. Marvelous beyond words.
Yep, all those satellites just for me.