A relatively new blog to help me get into the writing habit. We'll see where it takes us.
|An attempt to get my muse back to working with me|
Elvis & The Arizona Memorial
Tonight I thought I'd share a little history with you all. This is almost all about Elvis, and something special he did that touched my heart.
During my school years, I will admit that though I enjoyed listening to Elvis sing, I would not have called myself a big Elvis fan. But I appreciated his talent, and often wished I could sing/croon like that. I joined the Navy in August 1972, and after almost two years of schooling, I was ready for my first sea tour. Unlike some sailors, I knew I would be a submariner. I had read extensively about the American Submarines during WWII, and could even tell you the name of a captain if you mentioned the name of their boat. (Submarines are boats, not ships). We all filled out our 'Dream Sheets' (we were allowed to selectplead for our next duty station, and type of submarine (SSBN (Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine), or SSN (Fast Attack Submarine), three choices of each). On mine, I really wanted Hawaii, San Diego, or Charleston. Submarine type was SSBN first, SSN second. I got my wish, and was sent to the USS Theodore Roosevelt SSBN 600 (G) out of Hawaii! What a dream come true! I ended up living in Hawaii for nine years. It was there that I became a fan of Elvis.
As many of you know, the USS Arizona (BB 39), a WWI era Battleship was sunk at Pearl Harbor in a catastrophic explosion. Over 900 of the ships 1100 crewmembers were killed in that explosion. That occurred on December 7th, 1941 of course. Almost 20 years later, the Arizona still sat on the bottom of Pearl Harbor (and still does), a rusting hulk. There was no Memorial for it, one was planned, but fundraising efforts ($500,000 was needed to get it at least started and hopefully finished.) Imagine it taking 20 years to build a 9-11 Memorial in today's world.
Elvis Presley had just finished his tour in the Army in 1960, and read about the proposed Arizona Memorial. He and his manager came up with the idea of doing a concert at Pearl Harbor that would benefit the Arizona Memorial Fundraiser. He was going to Hawaii to film a new movie; the plan was to hold the concert before the filming began. This was 1960, so the next bit of numbers may not amaze you, so bear with me. Three Thousand screaming fans met him at the airport! Jimmy Stewart happened to be on the same plane, but no one gave him any attention at all. That night, yes you see it right, THAT NIGHT, he performed in concert at Bloch Arena in Pearl Harbor. I've flown to Hawaii several times, it's a 4-5 hour flight! That's in today's planes. How long was his flight in 1960? He performed the concert that night in front of 5,000 fans. Tickets ranged in price from 1-10 dollars, with VIP tickets $!00. Yep, everyone attending was expected to purchase a ticket, even the mayor, etc.
All total, Elvis raised about $60,000 for the Memorial fund. Six months later, the goal was reached, and construction on the Arizona Memorial commenced. Here's the part that made me a fan of this man. First, his trademark Gold Jacket he always wore in concerts, was never worn after that concert. Small detail, but notable. Second. Elvis personally paid every fee for the concert. He paid his backup band, the singers, Bloch Arena, etc. If they wanted something, food & drinks before hand, hotel fees, cars, he paid for it. Why? Because he was adamant that every penny earned from the concert go to the Memorial Fund. Another side note. Elvis purchase the first $100 ticket to the concert. Elvis and his manager also added another $10,000 to the fund which is what allowed it to reach the $60,000 mark, a little more than 10% of the total cost.
I have heard, and could not locate a posting to verify this, that Elvis was in Hawaii sometime after the Memorial was completed, and called the Arizona Memorial desk to see about getting a tour. The office in charge was thrilled, and said he make all the arrangements, including getting the press there for interviews. Elvis declined the interview part, and asked if he could have a private tour, a bit of private time, on the Memorial. No press, no screaming fans. Of course that was granted, I'm sure the Officer In Charge was disappointed in the private request though. When he toured the Memorial, Elvis brought along a rose for each member of the crew who died that day. This man was special, no matter what any one thinks of him in his later years.
Friday Night Date Night & Course Revision Ongoing
This past week was one of study, study, study. I sat in what's called a 'Console' class. So let's explain that term a little bit so you know what one is. A Console (in this case, the Motorola MCC 7500/7500e/7100 Console) is where a person called a Dispatcher sits and receives calls from people like you and I. We call them on 9-1-1 over what ends up being the telephone system. They listen to your call, and will 'Dispatch' Fire Trucks, Ambulances, EMS, etc to your location. That dispatch call is sent over a radio network/system. I train the technicians who maintain that network/system how to configure, maintain, troubleshoot, etc. the radio part of the system. Well, the radio part, and all things that make up the radio system, since it is IP based (Networking classes), has rack mounted radios, vehicle radios, hands carried radios, etc. You get the picture. I don't teach the console class, so I had a week of non-delivery, and thought I'd sit in. Except.... I did other work on the side while listening. Yes, I was multi-tasking when I should have been paying close attention.
So what was I doing in my multi-tasking efforts? I have a class this next week with Calhoun County Texas. One I've delivered many times. About 5 years ago, a new piece of equipment was added to the system I will be covering, and we have absolutely nothing about it in the materials for this course. It's in another course, but that one is 'Trunking', whereas my system is 'Conventional'. There are difference in capacities, enabled apps, etc that tells me this course needs it own Powerpoint Slideshow on it, as well as some hands-on activities. So, I first learned that app/program, added PPT slides to cover it in class, and wrote 4-5 hands on activities for it that will hopefully enhance their learning. I have this same class in late September for a different customer, but same stuff. So this isn't a one-time use deal.
The first week of August, I have another Fleetmapping class. I'm finally through editing/revising/rewriting, whatever, on that course. One of my last efforts on that class was to greatly improve the hands-on activities (Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet activities), as well as develop a series of questions to be asked a customer about a month before the class convenes. Those questions were sent to the customer I'll be teaching, and for once they answered every question! That's a very rare occasion! So Monday, and Friday if needed, I will edit the hands-on activities so the discussion and exercises are built around their system. I will do this for each Fleetmapping class I deliver in the coming months.
I was asked to review restaurants I may dine at here since I don't travel right now. This is my first local place.
Now, about that date night. We always try to go out on a Friday night. Lately, it seems we've brought it home more often than not. With there not being that many 'great' restaurants in Bloomington (forget the corporate chains, I won't go to them unless I'm desperate), we often go to small 'Mom-n-Pop' places. While the food there is usually very good, it can't match a really good place. Such is the case last night, when we went to 'Jonah's Seafood House in Peoria.
First, it is a nice setting. Second, we'll be back, maybe once a month. The service was excellent, the food didn't disappoint in any way, shape, or form. For an appetizer we had the Crab Tortilla Dip. For dinner, I chose their Sesame Crusted Hawaiian Ahi Tuna. It was very rare. Well, it was raw in middle, and perfectly seared on the exterior. I loved Ahi Tuna that is well prepared, I was in heaven with this dish. Here's the restaurant's description of this dish. Firm red meat with milder flavor, steaky texture & large moist flakes. It's robed with toasted sesame seeds, Pan Seared, sided with pickled ginger, sweet ocean greens, & peanut butter lime, wasabi aioli, & Asian ginger sauces. Best rare! I tried each sauce, but loved the Wasabi Aioli, and the Asian Ginger Sauces. On a scale of 10, this was a 9 for me, maybe a little above 9. (I'd never rate a place a 10 on a first visit. You have to dine there multiple times to earn that.)
Back to work topics. Speaking of Fleetmapping, I will deliver it (virtually of course) a week from Monday, after I deliver that class to Calhoun County (that's only a three day class). I'm still thankful to have this great job, thankful for so many things. Most of all, I'm thankful I'm here, alive and kicking. See you all next time 'round.
How do you feel about the integrity of the news? Can we believe what we read/see? How much bias is there?
There are exceptions to everything, I know that. But what I'm going to write about here is what I see from the media outlets every day.
I have to say, you have included two words that do not belong together. Before I continue, I have to say that I can't speak for any country other than the United States about this topic, but here we go.
News. Integrity? The news Networks have ZERO Integrity, and I mean ZERO. I constantly ask myself what has happened, where is Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley when you need them? I find that the media (left or right, it doesn't matter), is not reporting the news. Rather, they will report on subjects they want you to inform you of. Gone are the days of reporting the news, nothing but the news, or 'The facts Ma'am, just the facts'.
This issue is, the media wants people in office that are sympathetic to their views. 'Their' being the owner/CEO of the corporation. It's not a matter of reporting the news, it's a matter of using their platform to further a candidates position on issues to get favorable outcomes. Or the media will use a story to gain favorable views from the local public. I will give you a prime example of something that recently occurred here in Illinois, and backfired on the station involved.
A city police officer and his partner were called to a residence for a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, the young man involved shot at them. The officer was killed in the shootout, as was the young man. The officer's partner was severely wounded. To me, both deaths are a real tragedy. The kicker was what happened a couple of days after this occurred. A local TV station ran a special program featuring the young man involved in the shootout, and depicted him 'floating in the sky' with angel wings and a halo. I won't go further into the young man's background or history, but let's just say he had been in trouble before. A lot of trouble.
The backlash of public outcry to the station was overwhelmingly in support of the police officer and his partner. I myself have to wonder who in their right mind at a media outlet would think that a story like that would be a good thing to air. People are boycotting the station, I won't watch that channel ever again, the station was scheduled to do a town hall in a nearby small town, the town cancelled that.
My point in all this, is that the media has no integrity, has no desire to report the news accurately and correctly. Like almost everyone in a position of power, the media cares about one thing only. Themselves.
Recognized Unexpectedly During A Meeting
Well, I did finish this week's class by noon Friday, and headed home. There were a couple of stops to make along the way too. I needed to get a Lou Malnati's Pizza for a close friend (There are no 'Lous' places anywhere near us), and stop by 'The Fresh Market' for some Chocolate Cherry Kiss coffee. Again, there's not one of those stores anywhere close to me in Bloomington.
While I was heading to The Fresh Market, I received a chat notification. No, I don't chat on the internet, at least not much. This was a notification from Google chat. The instructor team at work has set up a series of Chat Rooms in Google chat. Almost every group at work has a similar room, but we have 7-10 of them based on various courses/subject matter. When I could view it, I saw that my immediate supervisor has posted a comment about being in a meeting, or series of meetings. All virtual. All of a sudden, he heard an Engineer mention my name, and stated that he wanted to thank me for helping them set up their Fleetmapping Focus group, and providing training materials so they could review them, and work on their group. He also said I was a good resource for anyone who wanted to ask questions about Fleetmapping... He said some more, but you get the gist of it. I was shocked and surprised! Yes, I had worked with this Engineer briefly, very briefly. I attended a virtual meeting on Fleetmapping, and shared what I'd done with the course last year, as well as sharing my documents on it. It was quite a surprise to have an Engineer mention my name like that, much less heap praise on me, especially since we'd only met (virtually) that one time.
I woke the next morning, and my supervisor had sent me a 'High Five'. I get those about once or twice a year, people give them as a way to thank you for your help. The big thing here is, when you receive your fifth High Five, you get a monetary reward. Usually around $1000 or so, this is my third in this go-round. Yes, I've gotten about 13 or so of them in my time at work. I'm not sure how many I've gotten since my last reward, I don't keep track of them. But that little reward is always nice. It's even nicer to be recognized by someone who is essentially a complete stranger. I'm a bit like, "Aww Shucks George, I was just doing my job... " Honest, that's how it is for me. Maybe someday I'll tell y'all about Fleetmapping, and why it's such an important subject. It's not a technical subject really, but before I rewrote the course materials last year, we were delivering that class maybe three times a year, a contractor always doing the delivery. I rewrote it in April 2020, and delivered it seven times between late April and the end of the year, and am scheduled to deliver it nine times this year. Okay, enough bragging.
Speaking of Fleetmapping, I will deliver it (virtually of course) the next two weeks.... I'm still thankful to have this great job, thankful for so many things. Most of all, I'm thankful I'm here, alive and kicking. See you all next t me 'round.
Monsters Under Her (My) Bed
Tonight I'm asking the following question. How many of you sleep with your whole body, including arms and legs, on the bed, never letting any part of you dangle over the side? Is it because like me, you're afraid of "Monsters Under Her Bed" ? I wrote this based on that childhood fear; it's still with me today. I know it's irrational, but hey, it's my fear. I deal with it at least, but yeah, there's no way any part of my body will dangle over the side of my bed.
I'd be interested if any of you have this fear and how you handle it if you do. If you don't, what basic fear do you have? What scares the bejesus out of you no matter what?
I had another fear as a child, and still do in some ways. I grew up in Albuquerque, and lived in the 'valley' near the river for most of that time. The was (is) a ditch that runs next to the river, it's very shallow, maybe a little over a foot deep in the deepest pools. But at night..... there was no way I would walk along the road near the ditch. I always, ALWAYS, walked on the far side of the road, away from the ditch. Sometimes I ran, not walked. What caused this fear? I have to confess that I'm not sure. It may have been due to seeing the old movie, 'The Creature From The Black Lagoon'. Or maybe I was afraid of La Llorona. Either way, you couldn't pay me enough to walk at night on the side of the road next to the ditch, During the day was fine, heck, I even played in the ditch. We'd catch crawdads, make small boats... have a lot of fun. But come nightfall, that place was off-limits. I think about that time in my life, and laugh. I also know that if I went home to visit friends and family, I'd still walk on the side of the road away from the ditch. I think I was afraid of La Llorona.... I haven't seen that movie, but I know of the legend... <shivers>
A Day In The Life Of A Submariner
I think that by now most of you know I spent 20 years of my life on Submarines. I saw a post in a group I'm a member of on good ol' FB tonight, and thought I'd share a photo with you, and tell you a little about it.
First, in the photo, the men are standing up straight, they are not leaning.
A submarine will do this when they first go to sea. There's a couple of reasons for this, the biggest being, is everything stored correctly? The way you do this, is once you're at sea and submerged, go to a deep enough depth, maybe 500 feet. Then the Officer Of The Deck (OOD) will have the Diving Officer, and the Planesmen take the boat to a shallower depth, maybe 200 feet, only to immediately go back to the previous depth. Imagine going up and down a steep hill in your car if you will. Anything not stowed well will come loose and make a loud noise. Better to have it happen here, early on, than happen when you're trying to be quiet. In the photo, the boat is on a down angle of about 20-25 degrees. The crew is standing straight.
You see their clothing? That's called a Poopie Suit. It is a one piece outfit that zips up, or down. Yep, just one zipper. Very light weight, fire retardant, you were given 3 to start with, but frequently ended up with 5 or 6. Since your clothes are only washed once a week (you were lucky if they were washed once a week), having 5 or 6 was a luxury. Being so lightweight made them easy to fold and store too.
On my second boat, the USS Sargo SSN583, we did angles-n-dangles after leaving port. One of my shipmates thought it would be 'cool' to sit on the deck and slide during the angles. All was well, until the one time... Yep, on down angles, he would end up 'bouncing' off the Torpedo Room watertight door. Well, this one time in band camp, someone stepped out of the Chief's Quarters right near that watertight door. My shipmate saw him and tried to stop his slide, and reached out to grab something. Nothing available. But his hand did find a slightly loose piece of CRES (not sure what the metal was, it was lightweight, a bit like Aluminum), and sliced his palm to the bone as he slid by. I happened to go to the head (restroom for you landlubbers) after the angles-n-dangles. He in there with the Corpsman who watched him as he cleaned his palm with a Betadine solution. Yep, the corpsman was making him clean it himself, and was telling him he couldn't do it because the sight of blood would make him faint... Later, that same corpsman stitched his palm. Yes, a corpsman did that, submarines do not have a 'doctor' on board, only a hospital corpsman. Ahhh, such was life when I was young!
So what's so important about 15 hours? Tomorrow, at about 9:30 am, I get these plastic tubes removed from my nose! It doesn't sound like much, I've posted no selfies of my face with the tubes inserted (for good reason, I don't want to gross anyone out, plus it's a quite a bit TMI if you ask me), but I really can't wait. Let me explain.
The tubes are not very big in diameter, smaller than a cigarette. I have no idea of their length since they were inserted while I was still under anesthesia, then again, I do. They are probably 3 inches in length or so, and press against an optic nerve near the bridge of my nose. Any bump or movement of the tubes causes excruciating pain; you know, the kind that brings tears to your eyes. Plus they 'leak' of course, since my sinus passages are slowly healing. A short length of black thread is tied to them and taped up on the bridge of my nose, that will be used in extracting them tomorrow. Thank the heavens that they will numb that area before removing them!
Despite what I've said so far, there isn't much pain with them, it's more of a major discomfort. It's just that they are a 'pain', you know what I mean. Being so uncomfortable, it makes it hard to do anything, hard to concentrate, and prohibits almost any thought of going out in public, even wearing a mask. Daily chores have been put on the back-burner, I'm doing what must be done, and that's about all. My biggest fear though, is this. Suppose they say, "Oh Jim, you haven't healed enough. Those need to remain in place another week..." My reply will be something like this. "They have to come out today. Either you remove them here, or I will do it once I get home." I'm fairly certain they will be removed, I'm not bleeding, haven't been since Friday. But we'll see, huh!
On a side note, the good thing in all this, if there's anything good to be found, is that my appetite is way down. As a result, I've lost 7-8 pounds since last Wednesday. Now to keep it off....
Y'all keep on writing, maybe even post a few Anniversary Reviews. That would make my day, and month. Till next time, love to you all. Take care of yourself, be healthy, be safe, be happy, and most of all; Love, and Be Loved.
A Day At The Races
Okay, so I wasn't actually at a race, but I spent the early afternoon watching the Indianapolis 500. I believe this is the first time I've been able to watch this the whole time. There's always been something that popped up to interfere with my viewing pleasure, but it's been okay. I feel a little history is in order.
I've been an Indy-car fan for over 60 years now. It started when we lived in Milwaukee Wisconsin from 1960 to 1962. The Wisconsin State Fair held a Indy-Car race during the fair, and I listened with my father to the race both years we were there. Being only 6 or 7, I quickly grew to idolize one of the racers, Eddie Sachs. Every year my father would prepare a sheet to document the Indy 500 race standings every 25 miles of the race. This was 1962 or so, he would prepare this paper before the race, and fill it out as the race progressed. Sadly, my idol and Indy-car hero was killed in a horrific crash on lap 2 of the 1964 Indy 500. But filling that paper out, listening to the race on the radio, became a 'thing' for me. Yet I never listened (or watched, once it came to the television) a complete race. Today I did that, and loved every minute of it. Helio Castroneves became the fourth driver to win the race 4 times. This was last done in 1991 by Rick Mears. He joins the elite group of Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt, and Al Unser.
Five years ago I was given the birthday gift of a lifetime. I was given the chance to take a 30 minute course on driving an Indy-car, then had the opportunity to actually drive one on the Chicagoland Speedway! It wasn't new by any means, was probably a good 10-15 years old, and had an engine limiter on it so you couldn't go faster than 175 mph. Still.... I was in heaven. During the course, they told us a few things, one of them being to put the pedal to the metal and don't let up. The car would not skid or flip on us. They were right. My fastest lap ended up being right at 150 mph. Not quite what I'd hoped to reach, yet at the same time, faster than I thought I was going while in the car. Yes, that's the car I drove in the photo below. A special gift, a special day, and for me, a special race. Now to see about maybe getting tickets to the race one day.
Sinus Surgery 5/26/21
Due to that ongoing cough I've had for a while now, and other sinus issues, the ENT (and other specialists) decided that Sinus Surgery should be performed. Yesterday was the big day, which leaves me with one big statement to make. "I can't believe there are people who will voluntarily undergo a procedure like this just so their nose will 'look better'!" Yes, I realize that's a different type of surgery altogether, but it's in the same area, I'm sure they felt the same afterwards as I did yesterday. Maybe I'm just a wimp....
For me, the surgery itself was a breeze. I checked in at 11:30 am for my 1 pm appointment, and was quickly ushered to a waiting room. I went through the typical barrage of questions that had been answered many times before, and the nurse started an IV, and the fun began. First, the IV was nothing, even though she warned me beforehand. She numbed my hand first, and cautioned about the sting (I felt nothing), then a burning due to the numbing medicine being injected. Again, I felt nothing. As she inserted the needle for the IV, she said, "A lot pressure and sting." I felt nothing, she had numbed it well. After that, it was a waiting game for at least an hour.
They finally came to wheel me to the operating room, as they were pushing my bed, one of them said, "I've already given you a light sedative, you might feel some lightheadedness." I said something back about I expected it, but I don't recall exactly what I said. Anyway, I don't remember arriving in the exact room, I don't recall being moved to a different bed, I was out. The next thing I was aware of, is waking with my nose stuffed, some minor pain, and being told over and over to breathe deep to get my blood oxygen level above 90.
Eventually I was sent home with instructions on after care. Those instructions weren't given to me of course, but we knew what to do at least. I slept the evening away, and through most of the night, waking at 4 am. There's not a lot of pain, then again, I was prescribed Norco. I will stop taking that sometime today if I can, but do have a week's supply available. I have the next two weeks off, with activity restrictions in place. No bending over, no lifting anything over 10 pounds, I must sleep with my head elevated at least 30 degrees (Thank God for our nice reclining love seat!) for about a week. There is a tube stuck in each nostril to keep things clear, and I have a 'mustache dressing' taped in place that is changed every hour or so. (Mustache dressing = gauze rolled and taped above my upper lip).
I even thought of a 'joke' I could post here about all this.... It would go something like this.
We're sitting around talking about our past, where we've been, where we'd like to go back to. Eventually she says, "I would love to go someplace I haven't been in a long time."
I reply, "How about the kitchen?"
Insert post-op selfie labeled, Me, after her reply., followed by the statement...
"I am recovering nicely, and will be able to smell things again in about 2 weeks!"
Seriously, I am fine really, and will rest all I can, while I can. Love to you all, take care of yourselves!
When I was in the 4th grade, the girl of my dreams joined the elementary school band. I begged my parents to let me join, never telling them about Rita Sanchez being the reason I wanted to join. No matter how I pleaded, the answer was always a resounding, "No!" Their reasoning was that most likely I wouldn't continue it and give it up after a couple of months. We were poor as could be, getting an instrument for me was out of the question.
When I started the 5th grade, I was determined to be in band, just so I could be with the love of my life. Now understand one thing. Rita Sanchez didn't know I existed. She was cute, she was my first crush, and I needed to be near her as much as I could. I thought that being in band with her would lead to us finally getting to talk. I was far too shy to go up to her and say hi. Besides, she was gorgeous (in my eyes), and I was just a nerdy, gangly boy.
Luckily for me, my parents relented and finally let me sign up for band. I was all set, I would play Trumpet, and play it so well that she would notice me, and we'd be a couple forever. Except now there were two problems.
First, my parents couldn't afford to buy me a trumpet, so we would have to rent an instrument from the school system. There was yet another problem. The school system didn't rent trumpets. The only instruments they rented were trombones, baritones, Tuba/Sousaphones, and French Horns. I thought about it some, and decided on the French Horn. Why? I knew what the other instruments looked like, but had no idea what a French Horn looked like, and thought I'd play that. And that's how I ended up playing French Horn from the fifth grade through HS graduation.
Oh, and Rita? Well, she didn't continue band in the 5th grade.... We went to different Middle Schools/Junior High Schools, but the same High School. I never did speak to her, she never knew I was alive. I was fine though, I'd found a new love in music.