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Winston

  1. Husky Band Day

    Yesterday I chaperoned my son's band to the University of Washington. The University was hosting what they called "Husky Band Day", where they invite dozens of Puget Sound area high school bands to play with their college band. It was fun, but exhausting. We, by far, had the largest band with 140 students. Luckily, the kids self-manage well and they need minimum supervision.
    The total amount of musicians on the field was over 3,000. I could lie and say how well they played, ...
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  2. The End of Evolution

    Just waxing philosophical, with more thoughts than facts. I remember the old George Carlin bit about The Earth "wanting" plastic bags. That's why we evolved (or were evolved) by Earth / Gaia. Now that The Earth has the plastic bags it needs, it no longer has any use for us. Bye-bye.

    That's what always got me about the ultra-left socialist green types. We're supposed to "save the planet"... for whom? Odds are we'll go out in a blaze of glory in the next few ...
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  3. Vacation!

    Visited relatives down in Northern California last month. Miss the people, the place... not so much. It has it's charms, like the majesty of The Redwoods and the coolness of The City (SF). Saw our Giants play The Athletics.

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    On the way back north, we stopped by Lassen Volcanic National Park. That place never disappoints. ...
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  4. That Happened?

    This week was so bad, in so many ways, part of me just wants to think none of it happened.

    Orlando, Florida? I can't, and won't say any more about that.

    Two cops killed by a terrorist in their Paris suburb home? While their three year old child watched? Not in a sane universe.

    A member of British Parliament killed by a Neo Nazi? Seriously?

    A bunch of Israelis killed by Palestinians in a market? OK, I believe this one. I just wish it wasn't ...
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  5. Too Comfortable

    This new job is almost exactly what I expected. And that's a problem.

    I'm so used to being lied to, abused, mislead and generally mistreated by my former employers. It's usually subtle, causing a stress build-up and general crappy quality of life.

    However, this job is almost too good.
    I'm never forced to work overtime. I earn a copious amount of time off AND I can actually use it! We all get three hours of paid time to work out during the week. I'm treated ...
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  6. Haves / Have Nots

    My wife read a story detailing how one of Obama's kids is going to Harvard, or some such snooty school. American Royalty. Hillary's kid is set for life, with all their connections. And we all know about the Bush oligarchy. But they all work so hard for those perks, right? Right.

    Meanwhile, here on Earth, the cops grace us with their presence. My son does some snooping, and finds out that the police are concerned about someone sleeping in a van. On private property. With the ...
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  7. Unanswered Prayers

    For the longest time I tried to get a job at the Navy shipyard nearby. My resumes were not looked at. The few interviews I had produced no offers. Years went by. I was really disillusioned.

    Last year, I was finally hired. The position doesn't pay great, but it's a living wage. And the benefits are outstanding. My working conditions can be uncomfortable, but are generally not bad.

    Since my hiring, I found out more about some of the jobs I applied for. It turns out ...
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  8. Arsonists

    It often seems like the world is lead by adolescent pyromaniacs.
    They stand in a dry grass field with gasoline and matches. By the grace of God, they haven't burned the whole thing down. Yet.

    Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming, so it's easy to dismiss. One day, though, when the whole field goes up, it will be too late.

    I grew-up during The Cold War, when the threat of Global Thermonuclear War hung heavy over all our heads. Now, it hangs somewhat less threatening. ...
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  9. Do Not Attempt

    Just a quick rant:

    What is up with every TV commercial embedding a tiny "Do not attempt" disclaimer at the bottom of the screen?!

    May as well finish it with:

    "You are part of a failed society that is clumsy, stupid and brainwashed. You're risk-adverse because you're all perpetual children with no common sense. Coddled into and throughout adulthood, you think a Participation Award is preferable to actually winning. Or even being good at something. ...
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  10. Zen and The Art of ARRRRRRRRGH!!!

    My bike has 15,000 miles on it. Only 15K. And the headlamp goes out. I'm wondering if Honda contracted with Takata on more than air bags. Well, anyway unlike a car (where you have two), a burned out headlamp on a motorcycle is kinda a big deal.

    Two options, well three. Take it to the dealership? WHAT? May as well turn in my Man Card right now.

    So, I can disassemble the fairing for direct access. The problem is, you need a manual to know where all the booby trap ...
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  11. Frustration and Apathy

    In the 1980's (before many of you were born) there was a big scandal regarding the United States dealing weapons to Iran to free hostages. This week, we free-up 1.5 billion in Iranian assets, and five hostages are freed? I suppose if we give them the money to buy / make their own weapons, it's OK. And we must have stipulated that the paying of ransom is now an appropriate and just US policy. Unless, it was simple blackmail: Give us our money or we build nukes.
    AND
    A respected general ...
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  12. No Free Lunch

    Cheap gas is not a good thing. I know, all the news outlets are telling you to rejoice that oil is below $30 a barrel. You'll save hundreds of dollars a year. Etc...
    The real deal is we're looking down the barrel of a global recession. Oil is cheap because oil futures are cheap. Because, production of manufactured goods is going down. China is the catalyst. The opportunistic disease in the weak patient.
    I don't enjoy being the bearer of bad news. Historical econ cycles predict ...
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  13. Working the Wrong Muscle

    Any Dennis Leary fans here? One of my favorite skits of his was talking about exercise. He laments the idiocy of a "Stairmaster", noting that "...if you want to climb stairs, move into a (NYC) 5th story walk-up. What are we now, gerbils?"
    There's much wisdom there.
    A New Year means Resolutions for many. If your resolution involves exercise, here's my unsolicited advice:

    Change what you do, and how you do it, before trying to cram more stuff (exercise) ...
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  14. Xmas in 'Merica

    Yep. We hop in our 12 year old Dodge, made in Canada from Mitsubishi parts, to Walmart. We buy a bunch of stuff made in China, wearing our clothes made in Indonesia.

    Xmas breakfast is Mexican pastries and some coffee and cocoa with Abuelita syrup. Appetizers before dinner are Filipino Lumpia dipped in Cambodian pepper sauce. Watched a bunch of movies copyrighted by Sony on a set made in Taiwan. Dinner tonight was Portuguese Linguicia sausage on French rolls, served with Argentine ...
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  15. You're Too Bright

    Just a quick PSA:

    If you're one of these folks that think "more is better" all the time, please stop. Specifically, your headlights. I walk to work now, before dawn. It seems that a bunch of people like to flash their bright headlamps at me when they approach.
    "Look! A Person!"
    I'm not a deer. I'm carrying a small flashlight and wearing reflectors. I'm not going to jump out in front of you. You just blinded me, and there is a drop-off to a ditch ...
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  16. Run, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rinse, Repeat...

    ...And finally: FIGHT! General George S. Patton can stop rolling in his grave in agony.
    For the last decade or two, we have been told that when some maniac begins spraying bullets in a school, theater or church, you need to "duck and cover". It was stupid in 1950 defending against The A Bomb, and it's moronic now defending from flying lead.
    The idea is as simple as it is preposterous. When an evil psychopath begins shooting unarmed women and kids, you should go hide. ...
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  17. The Shredder

    I won't say I love my new job, but it is interesting.
    The people I work with are your usual lot of bureaucratic government types. Cliques, alliances, just like a reality TV show. I keep my head down and work just hard enough to look like the gullible butt-kissing new guy that I am not.
    Where I work is the basement of a building built in 1941. It's an odd mix of style and architecture from seven decades. The predominate colors are 1970's beige and burnt orange. Stenciled on one ...
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  18. Work and Leadership

    Kids are always a work in progress. But at this moment, I feel like I can mark down a win or two.

    My daughter just started her first real job. It's at a local "Victorian Tea Room", where she hostesses. The job is only fifteen hours a week, but it's a start. Already, she's seen other teens apply and be hired, and just not show-up. Meanwhile, my daughter is being tapped by the management there to refer her friends. She is so reliable and hard working, they want more like ...
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  19. Non-Trashy Cans

    Ponder The Unthinkable...

    I'm happy knowing that if people think I'm crazy, it won't bother me. I know that real crazy is knowing something may happen, and choosing to do nothing.

    Last month, I set-up my home-made "Faraday Cage". It's a simple solution to a hideous possibility.
    In the event of an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack, any unprotected electronics are vulnerable, and most will be rendered inoperable. The solution is to protect what you ...
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  20. Take Your Meds

    "Ponder the Unthinkable" addendum...

    I'm a true believer Capitalist. I also enjoy my Latin phrases, like caveat emptor.

    My grandmother lived through the Great Depression, and never threw anything away. She saw the expiration dates on consumer goods as overly restricting suggestions. Like always, she was right.

    The U.S. Air Force commissioned a study in the mid 1980's after the DOD way overpurchased medical supplies.
    (Remember, at the time ...
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  21. Bad Gas

    I've been sloth-like in my writing, particularly keeping my "Ponder The Unthinkable" series going. So I decided, in the meantime, I could drop a few hints and tips here from time to time.

    Gasoline does not stay good forever. After a period of months, up to a couple of years, the processed hydrocarbons break down. The fuel loses power. Moisture and even bacteria build-up. Eventually, gas 'gums-up', becoming gelatinous and totally unusable.

    All you dystopian ...
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  22. Diversity

    One of the joys of working in Seattle is the culture. The city is loaded with educated professionals, and has that certain air of slacker refinement.

    You get a feel for folks working in their homes. From the bumper stickers on their cars, their magazines, stray mail piled on the counter. Just stuff you'd notice, but not really care about.
    Surprisingly, there is a lot of political diversity in Seattle...

    First, there's the Obama Democrats. They seem to fall into ...
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  23. Shot Across the Bow

    Our good buddies in The Hermit Kingdom decided recently to pop their heads up. They want to play a game of Whack-A-Mole. This should be fun...

    Some DPRK Army genius thought it would be good sport to hack Sony corporate intellectual property. Just some pedestrian theft and vandalism. When we in the United States called them on this, they retort with, "You best let this go, or we're gonna go all 9/11 on your butt". Wrong answer.

    Yesterday, North Korea mysteriously ...
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  24. How To Be a Pedestrian (21st Century Edition)

    So, you're walking the city streets... congratulations! Because of you're selfless, well thought out lifestyle choice, you are now part of the larger community saving the planet, one step at a time! You also now have more disposable money left to buy trendy, yet unfashionable clothing AND occupy the moral high-ground with your friends (unless they ride a bicycle).

    After a well exhausted round of patting yourself on the back, take a deep breath. Know now that walking in the modern ...
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  25. Old Soldiers, Hidden Wounds

    Looking at the guy, I'd have never guessed he was a hero.

    I'd worked for the customer before. He's sixty-something, graying, average build and demeanor. He was baking fruitcake when I arrived yesterday (kid you not). His modest house is always neat and orderly, like you'd expect of many veterans. I don't chit-chat much with my customers generally. I'm there to work, not be their new BFF.

    Well, I kinda wish I did. I don't "oogle" my customer's possessions, ...
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