Testing the Bivy Tent

I bought this Winterial tent in the dead of winter so I was happy to finally be able to set it up in soft ground.

It is a single person tent. Easy to set up and also comes with a rain fly.

Here is the Amazon link. Highly recommended.

Time for A Short Story

I wrote a story a couple of years ago called “P-5443 or Bust.” I’m not sure why I chose the name but it seemed fitting for the story itself.

I’ve added the story to the short story tab above.

I just re-read it and I still like the story — especially the ending. Hat Tip to my friend John who always believes that stories need hope — somewhere.

There is some hope in this story…sort of.

It is a very quick read. The idea was a small word count. I was originally going to submit this to the yearly PBS writing contest but never got around to it.

Enjoy.

Go-Live Weekend

Well, the time has finally arrived. After several delays — this weekend should mark the dawn of a new WMS where I work.

I think we’re all ready to just get this thing overwith — already.

I’m not sure how much posting I’ll do. I came up with a great short story idea a couple of days ago and I plan to write that out.

I may also post a short story I wrote a couple of years ago about a “space mishap” and a stranded Marine.

Hope everyone enjoys the fabulous weekend weather!

Update: 3:00 pm – The process seems to be taking a little longer than anticipated. We don’t anticipate being able to start anything until at least 7:00 pm. We’ll have another update at 6:00 pm.

Update: Sunday Afternoon – 3:17 pm. We have completed the upgrade and are moving forward with our configuration. I had a straight 36 hours of being awake. Time for bed.

Update: Wednesday Morning – April 16, 2018 – 2:19 am. We’ve been using our new system since Saturday. It is not without it’s flaws but we are pounding through it. Monday and Tuesday have been mostly mission critical patches and we still have a few of those but we’re getting through the problems. I’m not surprised by any of our issues. They are pretty standard pain points in any upgrade. The folks on the project have been wonderful and I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of co-workers.

Update: Sunday Morning – April 22, 2018 – 10:19 am – We are almost finished getting to a stable state. Only a few more things to work out. It has been a very long week.

Cracking iPhones?

As an Apple iPhone user, I am grateful that Apple takes security and privacy seriously. So much so, that they’ve been to court many times over it.

A story from Engadget this morning sounds troubling. Apparantly, there is a hardware device on the market that can crack iPhone security. From the article…

Based on an earlier report by Malwarebytes, GrayKey is a small box that can unlock two iPhones at a time. (See the two connectors in the image of the device below?) It was developed by Atlanta company Grayshift, which is run by long-time US intelligence agency contractors and a former Apple security engineer, according to Forbes. To use GrayKey, all cops need to do is connect a phone to it for two minutes. They simply have to wait a bit after it’s unplugged to see a black screen pop up with the passcode — how long they’d have to wait depends on how complex the passcode/passphrase is.

Hopefully, Apple will release a patch that will negate this device.

A Series of Books

As you can see by the sidebar (today anyway), I am reading a series called Arisen. It is an awesome series about a ZA or Zombie Apocolypse for anyone who doesn’t get the lingo.

I started the book yesterday and I was immediately confused about what series this was. You see — I have probably read about 14 books between the last book, Book 12, and the current book, Book 13.

A lot of different things have happened in a lot of other books. It can get really difficult to keep track.

I suppose it is a great problem to have. Reading so much that you can’t tell which series you are in.

Ok. Just wanted to rant a bit.

Chuck is Back

After a few weeks of ups and downs, my friend Chuck is finally out of the hospital. He collapsed at work several weeks ago from a mild heart attack. After a few days of diagnosis, it was determined that he required open heart surgery.

After the surgery, Chuck has some more battles to overcome including standing up and then — dying.

He was brought back and then forced into a coma for a few days.

He was supposed to be able to come home yesterday but the hospital wouldn’t release him.

Today — after all of this — he is finally home.

Watching a friend go through this makes me look at where I am as far as my health is concerned.

I certainly don’t want to go through what he has.

Anyway, I’m glad he is finally home.

Update: (04.21.2018)Chuck had to go back into the hospital a couple of times because of respiratory issues. Fluid builds up in his lungs and he can’t breathe. This has happened twice now. He finally came back home again yesterday. He sounds much better and has lost a lot of weight. I have to admit that I was getting worried when I didn’t see him this morning. His brother called and finally woke him up. I was honestly wondering about whether or not he had passed as a reason for not seeing him this morning. My mind wonders and I couldn’t be more happy to be wrong in this instance.

Water Worlds

Great article in Scientific American about debate on whether life would exist or not on a world made up of water.

I like the comment near the bottom of the article about comparing everything to Earth and why it is not always a good idea.

“I think it could be dangerous just thinking about everything in an Earth-mindset,” Ramirez says. “You might be missing out on other possibilities.”

I still feel a bit of arrogance from the scientific community about life on other planets. You can’t armchair quarterback the universe and the only way you are ever going to know what these worlds are like — is to VISIT them.

In unrelated news…I still think it is super cool that I can copy a link on my iPad and paste that link into my MacBook Pro. </end geek moment>

Misunderstanding Apple Pay

Gruber at Daring Fireball has some good points about a poorly written/researched Wall Street Journal article about Apple Pay.

My take away is that Apple has been doing a poor job of marketing Apple Pay. I still have friends and co-workers who — when I mention Apple Pay — have a “deer in the headlights” look on their face.

There should have been enough commercials running everywhere by now that everyone knows what Apple Pay is and what it is used for. But, alas — there is not.

Update: 04.04.2018 – Apple released some new Apple Pay ads.

Broken Links

Over the weekend, I took a trip down memory lane and decided to read the older blog posts from several years ago.

Good stuff — except for the broken links.

Websites come and go. I know that more than anyone and with them also goes their links and pictures.

Fixing the links is no small task. I will probably need to do some research on each one and locate the picture from elsewhere.

Happy to do it but will probably not be until this weekend.

TTFN

A Break from The Crazy – Part II

We were supposed to have our new system up and running by now. We’ve hit a few snags and now it will be a few more weeks until we are using new software. Better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.

This past weekend I got an overwhelming urge to reach out to a friend of mine whom I have not heard from in a few years. We plan on catching up this weekend and I’m hoping to plan a few camping trips this year.

I would like to keep up with writing but until we get to the other side of this major project — not very likely.

After about a year and a half, I picked up the drum sticks and began playing again. I was afraid the “song in my heart” that made me want to play in the first place was gone after my breakup. It has been a slow recovery for me and hiding behind that pain with laughter is what I’ve done for the past 18 months.

A close friend of mine has just undergone open heart bypass surgery. No matter how much safer these procedures are these days, it is still a nail biting experience until you get that first call from them. I got that call yesterday morning. He didn’t sound great but it was a welcomed call. His road to recovery is just starting and I wish him all the best.

When I was 5 years old, my neighbor (Mr. Cooney) had bypass surgery when the process was still new. He didn’t make it. I still have sad feelings wash over me when I think about it. They were the nice older couple next door and would watch me and my sister before we had to go to school. I miss them.

Well, this has been another fine brain dump.

I have a couple of blog posts in the hopper and I’ll post as soon as I can. One of them is about the Cannes Film Festival.

Fuck. Them.

A Break from The Crazy

We’ve been getting ready to complete a major project at my day job. This project has been pushed back a couple of times because it seems the scope was much bigger than anyone imagined. Anyone but me, of course. I remember talking to a co-worker who believed we could get this thing done in a month. It looks like we will get this done in 3 months. Ideally, this should have taken 6 months.

In talking to a few folks over the last several weeks, I realize there are two things that I am really passionate about outside of the day job. Those two things are writing and hiking/camping. Throw in a few ideas about “prepping” and you’ve got quite the mix.

A couple of books in the audible library are about what happens when we loose electricity. The power grid goes down and the whole world goes to shit. Literally. I have a few different titles but they all seem to show a common thread. People who have not prepared expect those who do — to take care of them. Extreme liberal views are like that. I have friends who believe that the government should run everything. Not because the government clearly knows what they are doing — but because they believe in being “taken care of” by someone other than themselves. As a military veteran, I would strongly disagree.

I think I am overdue to a short shory so I am hoping to write one this weekend.

I should probably start posting on this site because, why not?

This website is for me. I don’t write on it to keep anyone else informed. It is my place to discuss whatever I like and… occasionally, I get to swear.

Being single has its perks.

TTFN.

Busy Times

I am not really posting a lot right now. Our major project deadline keeps getting pushed back.

It is now going to be at the end of this month.

Once I get to the other side, I’ll have plenty of time to get back to writing which is something I love to do. I’d also like to write about my new amazing (and very stinky) 3 day pack.

I plan on doing a lot of camping this year. The idea is to set up a base camp and simply lounge about and write.

I’ll post more if I get the chance.

Projects and Plans

It is almost the end of February. Where did it go?

I’ve moved the website over to Captain Nukko but it has issues. The kind of issues that I usually don’t encounter like missing graphics, the books I read, etc.

That is why I am writing this post on my normal site. Captain Nukko might have been a great idea at the time but chipheadmike works and I should probably just stick to this site.

Watch both sites…just kidding. I’ll most likely just write here.

With that aside, I’d like to update my small following on what has been going on at Castle Nerda.

The big work project is in full swing and has been pushed back a couple of times. It is the same idea as NASA “Go” or “No-Go” for launch. We’re getting there. We should be done with this soon.

Camping…

A couple of months ago, I got the camping bug again. I love camping. I love taking a three day hike/camp in the woods and being outdoors and living in nature.

I did it as a kid, a teen, but not so much as an adult.

I’m changing that this year. I’ve decided to keep three bags ready. My big GTH bag, a 3 day trip bag, and a day trip bag.

I’m in the process of stocking those up.

I am watching numerous bush craft videos on youtube as well as “prepper” info. It is good stuff.

This month will almost be over soon. Where did it go?

Dumbing Down of America

I found a pretty good article that talks about why Americans seem so dumb today compared to what they were just a few decades ago.

The article points to the education system but I disagree about why Americans aren’t as smart as they used to be.

The number of American citizens who can do very high-end research who also can easily get security clearances is limited,” Ignatius says. “The ability of our schools to produce American students at a world-class level, that’s an important national challenge.

Again, I disagree to a point. I believe the problem is something else entirely. Do college graduates really need to remember anything? In the age of “just Google it” do we really need to even try to retain information? I believe the answer is no. If I can’t remember a song, there is an app for that. If I can’t remember what camping gear I need to take with me — again I can just Google it.

The Go to Hell Bag and Zombies

It is called many things but I believe there is a difference between a “Go Bag” and a “Go to Hell” bag. Being a former military member I am well aware of what they are. It is a pack ready to go in case the world goes to shit and you need to get out of dodge — quickly.

I won’t go into details here because that is not what this site is about. I do want to discuss why I am writing about it. First, I miss my iPad Pro. It has always been one of my favorite computers for writing but I haven’t been using it much these days. That is a real shame. This thing rocks!

I guess the real reason I am mentioning a GTH bag is because I find myself inspired by all of the science fiction I’ve been reading lately. Most of them are about either a zombie acopalypse or the end of the world as we know it. Most stories have a military component and that includes GTH bags. It caused some reflection on me and my training as a member of the military. I find myself wondering why I didn’t have a GTH pack ready when I know they make perfect sense no matter what life is currently throwing at you.

I’ll post a link to a great article about GTH packs and what you should pack in them. This site is great.

Planning for an emergency situation is always a smart idea. Know this — you will definitely be in the minority when trouble hits.

Be prepared. The zombies could be coming…

Birthdays and What They Actually Mean

I’m writing this post because a lot of people (Google) seem to have an issue with understanding what birthdays actually are.

Their own definition is…

A birthday is the anniversary of the birth of a person or an institution. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with gifts, cards, a party, or a rite of passage.

Two words are missing. Living and Existing. A “living” person and an “existing” institution.

Birthdays are a celebration of life. If you have 5 birthdays than that means that you have been alive for at least five years.

If you die at the age of five then you will never be able to have a 6th birthday. You know…because you are DEAD.

Google loves to put up a birthday celebration honoring a particular figure in history. The problem is that they are usually dead.

It is impossible for any of these people to have birthdays past their death date.

For example, Princess Diana is not 56 years old. She only ever made it to 36.

 

Two Favorite Quotes

Both are from Eleanor Roosevelt.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
The 1st quote has had the biggest impact on me.
The 2nd quote is something we all could revisit from time to time. Including myself.

The Problems with Star Trek Discovery

I have to admit that I was one of those people who just couldn’t wait for another Star Trek series. I like them all although admittedly, some more than others.

Enterprise had a good start but really went off the rails pretty quickly. For a show that took place 100 years before Kirk, they made some mistakes with canon. Perhaps misunderstood, the show tried to do too much and I think that is why it got cancelled. It doesn’t matter what the writers think or what the producers “think” people want. You can’t take a property like Star Trek and just move away from everything Gene Roddenberry was trying to do. The really cool stuff happens in the Picard era and the Archer generation would have been a great platform for ironing out the kinks and showing us what it is like to be the new kid on the block. The fantastical plot lines didn’t need to happen for the show to be good. I guess that is my point.

Discovery takes what I just said and completely ignores it. I’ve read a host of comments about why fans don’t like the show or the approach that has been taken. I agree with most of them. Spore drive? Really? Lead character is a woman. No problems there but the name is ridiculous. Michael? I don’t have a huge problem with it but come on writers…you couldn’t have thought of anything better? You are given a blank slate and that is the best you could do? Sister of Spock? Never mentioned…anywhere. That makes this one, not cool. You could have done the same thing without involving the Sarak character. There are milions of other vulcans and the Star Trek universe should not be that small. Not everything involves Kirk, Spock, McCoy…and so on. You get the idea.

The producers and writers are going to end up asking themselves “why” when this show gets cancelled well before the seven season run that a few Star Trek shows have enjoyed.

The answer is obvious. You can’t shit on the fanbase. Especially, the Star Trek fan base.

They will be the ones flushing you out of the proverbial air lock.

Note: The reason I wrote this post was this article in Wired. Obviously, they at least acknowledge that there are problems.

 

Why People are Growing Weary of Scientific Conclusions

This story is a perfect example of how science makes leaps without actually doing any of the research.

Here is a story about what the brain does when changing focus or losing attention; you can call it anything you like. The study was conducted on humans…oh wait…it wasn’t.

When your attention shifts from one place to another, your brain blinks. The blinks are momentary unconscious gaps in visual perception and came as a surprise to the team of Vanderbilt psychologists who discovered the phenomenon while studying the benefits of attention.

This is not about the human brain. It is about what they saw in an animal’s brain.

The research was conducted with macaque monkeys that were trained to shift their attention among different objects on a display screen while the researchers monitored the pattern of neuron activity taking place in their brains. Primates are particularly suited for the study because they can shift their attention without moving their eyes. Most animals do not have this ability.

Science means data which means accuracy to me. Those things have to be important for the process to work properly. There was a time when scientists didn’t report on something until their testing was completed.

Star Wars Battlefront II

I had some reservations about running Battlefront II on my xBox One S. I had a feeling that the game would run slower and not be as responsive on the S as it would be on the new X.

So far, I am happy to report that the game runs perfectly. I had to restart the xBox once or twice in the very beginning but I think those problems have ironed themselves out.

The game runs just fine on your xBox One S. The graphics are simply amazing and I think it is an utter joy to be able to run around on Yavin 4, Naboo, Starkiller Base, Takodana (where Maz lives), Jakku, Kamino, Endor, Death Star II, Tatooine, Hoth, and Kashyyyk (where Wookies are from).

I love the arcade component because I can pick the battles and conditions of my choosing. My multiplayer skills are lacking in ground combat but my piloting skills are much better. Vulture droids, interceptors, bombers, and all kinds of other things you can fly around in make for a very interesting game.

I would recommend this game to everyone. It is loads of fun.