Tag Archives: Blather

A Year and A Half

Well it’s been over a year and a half since the last post, and a lot has indeed transpired. We did move to Klamath Falls on July 1st, 2017, and while we have been doing a lot, much of what we had hoped to do hasn’t happened yet. Radio stuff, of course, Tammy and I both started businesses, Zack is back in school, and so am I.

Emergency Coordinator appointment certificate

When we first got here, I started meeting folks in the local radio club. I ended up getting involved with the emergency communications system here in the county. By the end of 2017 I was appointed the Emergency Coordinator for amateur radio auxiliary communications. I also did a lot of work with the club on our repeater sites and helping establish the local packet radio network.

Back when I carried a firearm as a security officer in the 80s and 90s, I had two handguns and several rifles. Over the years I also found myself very interested in gunsmithing. About the time Tammy and I met I had divested myself of all of my firearms. Having left California, I wanted to start rebuilding my firearms collection. 

Taurus Millennium G2 9mm

When I bought a new handgun I felt it prudent to apply for a Concealed Handgun License. While open carry is legal, and people do open carry around here, when it’s cold and raining or snowing, the possibility of accidentally covering your sidearm is a real possibility so it only makes sense to avoid the potential problem altogether and legally be able to carry concealed.

Notary stamp and journal
ready to get to work

While working on radio stuff, I also started a mobile notary business. Along with basic notary services I got certified as a Notary Signing Agent to sign real estate loan documents. I have done quite a few loan signings and notarizations over the last year. I enjoy notary work. The business needs some expansion if I am going to make a real go of it.

One of the summer craft fairs

In other business news; Tammy started doing craft shows last year with her upcycled stuff and jewelry she has made. Up until now, all I have contributed has been minor cut this or tweak that and some display fixtures. I have plans to contribute more soon, but she has been doing well. She posts stuff for sale on her facebook sellers page and at the craft shows and the farmers market. We have the Christmas show season coming up but plan on making some changes next year.

Zack has been back in school, mostly because he enjoys it. We hope to get him focused on another degree at some point. We shall see.

To wrap things up I will touch on my also being back in school. Last spring I started looking for a reputable brick and mortar university with 100% online degree programs again. I was looking for a seminary program in particular. My goal is to earn a Master of Divinity. I have an A.S. in Aviation Maintenance Technology. Of course, I need to earn a Bachelors degree before I can enter a masters program.

I have been looked for an online seminary several times over the last decade and nothing ever seemed to work out. This time I found a program just before the summer term began. Liberty wasn’t what I was planning on but it worked out nicely. I am in my second term now. After this term, I have two more terms to complete my B.S. Religion.

Well, that’s the big catch-up for now. 

~Jon

Nine Years

Nine years ago I set up this domain and started blogging, I still don’t seem to have gotten the hang of it.

With everything going on in our lives and in the world around us, I should have plenty to write about. I have my radio blog, also lacking in regularity, and our store/family blog also suffers from a lack of consistency and regularity.

With my 9th-bloggiversary coming up in about two weeks I thought a little goal setting was in order. I have 54 weeks to work on improving those things I feel I lack in my blogging practices. Regularity & consistency.

Scheduling writing sessions had never worked well in the past but I think that had more to do with my lack of keeping up with datebooks and calendars. In the last year or so this has changed. I am using a calendar organizer daily for tracking a lot of different things. Adding writing goals into this routine shouldn’t be all that difficult.

At the moment I’m a little too scattered to vent any moral or social indignation about whatever is going on at the moment. I have been jotting down miscellaneous potential subjects for posts and scribbling out a paragraph or two every once and a while. Some of these should be useful, at least a little. I guess I should continue jotting and scribbling and see how things turn out.

I know this is anything but a substantive post, but that really wasn’t the purpose for writing today. Sometimes you just gotta do some things for yourself.

~FlyBoyJon

May Then June

My last post was April 5th, and even that wasn’t much of a post. A lot of changes are in the wind these days. Here we are, the end of June 2016, and the thought crosses my mind, most of my solid accomplishments are running a bit stale. I need to get some things done, educationally, physically, metaphysically, stuff just needs to get done.

We have plans, and we have been working towards those plans, but not at what I think should be our pace… my pace really. I should be getting more done. I have but a week to get a bunch of stuff done, and prepare for a very busy week after that.

Things are what they are and I have little control over things like the seasons so why fret. Just my nature I suppose. It’s so hard to stay motivated when it seems like we are always in a holding pattern for something or other. I want to see some momentum, some forward movement, action taking place. I know, be careful what you wish for. I’m sure it will bite me in the ass at some point.

Anyway, enough blathering on about nothing comprehensible.

Until next time,
~FlyBoyJon

An unproductive cycle

I seem to be getting into a cycle of posting that doesn’t seem to work well, or encourage more frequent posting. I have been posting once a month on all of the blogs I post too, on the same day, and then ignore them for another month. It’s like getting that hated chore done because it needs doing, not blogging because I have something to say, or feel like posting. I need to shift this trend back to “blogging is fun” not a chore.

Blahahahah… Okay, I got that out of my system.

220px-Goofy.svgSo much going on and yet so little progress to show for it. We have been planning to relocate for so long it just feels like the wheels are spinning in the mud. I have been planning for every contingency a new homestead environment can throw at us that its all become a mash of thoughts and potentials. The problem with this is I can’t go any further, it’s all just rehashes of stuff I have already considered. Without having a piece of land to plan around, an environment to adapt to, resources to count, conserve, and work with, I am just spinning tires in the mud.

We are so close, but nothing looks like we are any closer than we were a year ago. I had originally set a goal for this spring, as in March, April, or May, NOW. We should be relocating NOW. But that got pushed to a trip up north in mid May to scout out property, and hopefully buy a plot, with an actual move some time in late summer or early fall.

I am antsy to get up there. I don’t want to be scrambling to get a structure up and livable before winter sets in, and I sure as hell don’t want to wait it out until next spring. Let me rephrase that, I can’t wait it out until next spring. Ahhhhhhhhhh! Sorry. I’m just one giant ball of nerves grasping at something to keep my brain from running amuck amuck amuck. breath…

Zack is in his final term at De Anza. Two english classes and a music appreciation class away from his degree in English Literature. I am very proud as one might imagine. Annoyed, not that the two english classes books are a total of $80 for six books, that’s fine, the music class however… If I understand the bookstore correctly is about $250 for a book and a CD, seriously?! The cost of textbooks is nothing new and I would expect it for a math or science book, not this. We will do what we need to. Zack has worked hard to earn this and nothing will stand in his way to complete his degree. I just don’t like being gouged by publishers.

I sound in so negative, and I’m really not feeling mad or angry, just annoyed. It is so easy right now for me to get worked up when I encounter what I perceive to be stupidity, ignorance, and a lack of courtesy, respect, or common sense. Yes, I acknowledge that it is my perception and not necessarily what is actually happening, that I may not have all of the facts, that situations arise, I get all of that. I still get annoyed, and my threshold is low right now.

wingnutBetween to asinine behaviour of all of the political parties, and theire more vehement followers on all sides this political season, along with the general lack of good behavior out in public, I just don’t want to be out in it. I don’t go off-property very often, once a week maybe. I don’t go online all that often for the same reasons. I don’t want to be a hermit. I actually want to get out, do stuff, go places, enjoy being out and about. I’m just not in the right headspace to be out in the world.

When Tammy and I went up north last year in February it was a wonderful break from the urban sprawl. Just that short four days was enough to get me through a couple of months back in the concrete jungle. That rejuvenation ran out a few months back. I really need to…

The passing of 2015

20150222_1436272015 has been an interesting year. You could say it was full of weird and wacky adventures, loss, sadness, backsliding and headaches. It has also seen some forward progress, accomplishments both personal and professional, and a lot of forward momentum on future planning.

The pic is from our vacation/scouting trip up to Klamath Falls, Oregon back in February. It was a great trip. We had a lot of fun and it helped set a lot of things in motion for our future.

I’m not really sure what it all means but 2016 promises to be a big year of change. Tammy and I are already working on getting fit. She has been doing Weight Watchers and hopping on the treadmill. I have been working on getting back to Paleo and tredmilling as well. I am also getting back to isometric strength training. The fitness kick is more than a general health looking in the mirror thing, it is in preparation for moving forward with homesteading plans.

We have talked about it for years and I have been studying a variety of subject areas. I am now well versed in alternative construction techniques and permaculture design, though there is always more to learn and I am by no means an expert. I am versed in a wide range of sustainable systems for the homesteading environment and I am excited to get building.

Gardening has presented the largest challenge. Our 6′ x 10′, west facing, covered, patio space is not even close to ideal. We have had better luck keeping plants alive inside than outside. A while back we resigned ourselves to holding off on building the gardening skills until we are in a more rural environment with enough ground space for a full kitchen garden.

I have been studying up on Hügelkultur, permaculture soil building and earthworks, pioneering plants, cover crops and general land rehabilitation. Depending on the site, it is likely that the first year or two will be spent more on soil development than anything else.

We have also been working on our food preservation skills. Tammy has been getting into canning, mostly jams and jellies. I just finished canning four pounds of jalapeño peppers which filled eight pint jars that are now cooling. Over the spring and summer I dried a lot of Serrano pepper from the three pepper bushes I was able to grow on the back porch. I am hoping to do more soups and veggies in the coming months.

Speaking of food… the livestock issue is one where we are pretty much complete novices. I have had a little experience with rabbits and chickens but that was over 40 years ago. Based solely on our regular food patterns, raising chickens is pretty much a must. Anything else would be more a function of site.

Soil needs, available resources, what the site can support, structures, and systems, these are all site dependant and since we don’t have a site yet, we are at an impasse in these areas. Over the last few years we have been acquiring the foundation information and resources to get started. With this in place we are turning our focus on doing what we can do, close out debt, save as much as we can, and focus on getting property.

So that’s where we are, looking for land.

Until next time,
~FlyBoyJon

diversity

Sometimes diversity can be a huge pain in the tuches. My interests, though interrelated in strange and convoluted ways some times, are so diverse that I haven’t been able to keep things in an orderly fashion in the blogosphere, so I’m not gonna try all that hard anymore. What that means for you is that I will be posting stuff that may seem widely divergent from post to post. Sorry, but thats just the way it’s gonna have to be.

In my desire to get back to flying and building an airplane, I have had my builder juices flowing at mach-speeds. One of my many areas of interest is alternative energy. Not in the sense of replacement technologies but rather in the application of existing low-tech tools and processes using scavengeable parts and equipment and combining them in interesting ways. An example would be the use of a Fresnel lens and/or a parabolic mirror to direct light energy at a boiler to generate steam and power a steam engine, which in turn powers a generator that provides for electrical needs when the sun is up and recharges batteries for use when the sun is not available. This stuff is all available, except for the Fresnel and parabolic, at the local hardware store for not much money or can be found in any number or other places.

I spent several hours yesterday, and a little time today, looking up what other people have been doing online, watching poorly made videos and badly designed websites with broken links and missing content. it is amazing how many people are doing experiments in there back yards and workshops. Even more amazing is how few seem to be getting injured with the lack of safety and flat out stupidity in some cases. Don’t get me wrong, I give many of these people a lot of credit for going out and doing it, and documenting it. I appreciate there efforts. It just seems like there is a lack of credible data being made widely available out there.

As an example; I have been looking online for credible information on steam engine theory, design notes, build notes, practical application, anything, all I have found so far are short clips of models running, restoration projects running, and CAD/CGI models and animations. There are lots of people interested in selling Sterling engines and model steam engines, but not much else, at least not that I have come across.

One of the things I am interested in finding out is which engine is more efficient in powering a generator, a piston drive or turbine? Obviously in large installations the turbine is used, but why? In a smaller application which is more practical on a cost/maintenance vs. efficiency basis? Which requires the greatest heat energy and volume, and which has the best resource recovery system? All are important questions.

Eventually I want to be living in a less urban environment, at some point I want to be off-grid for power and reduce my carbon footprint, but there are a lot of things that can be done even in a semi-urban or urban environment. A lot of things sound like fringe or nut-case projects but when implemented with some common sense and pragmatism, they can work in many environments, pyrolysis is one of them. There are some great possibilities for pyrolysis in rural and urban environments for bio-matter disposal, including sewage disposal.

Another area of interest is multi-gas combustion systems. We have all heard about hydrogen fuel cells. While there is some hope there, it requires a lot of processing and energy in one form or another with the current technologies. A much simpler prospect for power generation is methane. You wouldn’t want to run your car on methane, at least I don’t want to drive a fart-mobile, but for generators, it makes a lot more sense. What about an engine that can run on natural gas, propane, methane, hydrogen, or any other combustible gases and vapors, or a mixture of them, one engine to burn any or all of them? It would be usable in a wider variety of applications and environments.

What about the many uses of solar energy? Solar power has gotten a bad-rap because it has been held back for so long. There are so many ways in which we can use solar energy, and only a few of them involve direct conversion to electrical current. Even the newest generation of solar cells, much more efficient than photovoltaics, are decades behind where there development should be.

Energy independence is an important issue at all levels. At the national level we depend far to much on fossil fuels. We have diverse resources, but there is a lot of room for improvement, it’s the same at the regional level. At the local level there is much less diversity, local municipalities are at the whim of power disruptions and this just doesn’t have to be the case. Where the difference is made is at the smallest level, the end user. Whether the end user is a government, business, or individual, a change in the way we consume and generate energy will have a major effect at the national level.

Redundant back-yard experiments may not be the solution by themselves, but it does point to the notion that it’s more than just a few people thinking outside the current energy box, and that is good. For me, I’m still putting more thought behind my projects before I start scavenging parts, but I do plan on getting something up and running soon. In the mean time I am thinking about putting up a wish list page for projects…

See you next time,
~Jon

getting stuff done…

I wanted the “Of Scouts and Scouting Pt. 2” post to be the next in line but there has been a lot going on and my brain has just not allowed it. It is in the works though, so if your waiting with baited breath, go brush your teeth. That post is coming soon.

There has been a lot of wide and varied thoughts rolling around in my head and I begin writing, in my head, at the most inopportune times, usually while I am trying to get to sleep. The discipline of getting to a keyboard or paper when the muse strikes is one that has eluded me. I am trying to get better about it, hence this short post about posting. I have several outlets for different parts of my life, this one for miscellanea about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, one for aviation, one for archival and preservations related stuff, and yesterday I added one for the ecclesiastical side.

My goal for the rest of the year is to post at least one article per week in each of the blogs I have set up. All but the last have been around for two years or better so there is no reason not to try harder. Some things might seem forced at times but I think that is part of a writers growth. Another part of this is that I am going to set some standards about the posting…

Number One: Posts must be a minimum of 250 words with an optimum of 500. I know word count is not the be-all-end-all as far as writing goes, but it goes a long way in building the creative stamina needed by a writer.

Number Two: I need to dramatically improve my typing, grammatical, spelling, and editing skills. I think this will come with the territory of writing regularly, but it is worth being part of the goal.

Number Three: Work on improving my writing style. This one is kind of a broad desire to develop a ‘flare’, that distinctive style that is my own. It is more of an aesthetic than substance thing, but the window dressing is what brings the customers in.

Number Four: Start marketing my writing. I have been very lacks in promoting my blogs, in part because I doubt myself and my abilities. Who knows, I may be a crappy writer, but deep inside I think I have the skills. Only time and perseverance will tell.

Number Five: Effort. This one is the most difficult. This goes along with stamina in Number One, I need to stick with it, even when I slip, I need to jump back on the wagon and keep plugging away.

After all is said and done, writing is the one thing I can do regardless of financial situation. Other projects require resources of one kind or another while writing requires only my time and energy, with some incite and creativity I hope. This post is fitting for the title of the blog and it has reached 500 words, so I guess this completes the first entry of my goal for the rest of 2010. Go Me!!

~Jon

Of Scouts and Scouting (pt.1)

My hiking boots and Scout socks - 50 miler 1981 - original photo by Ron SimpsonThe Road Traveled

In 1975 my scouting career began when I joined Cub Scout Pack 254. About the time I advanced from Webelos into Boy Scouts we moved to another part of town, prompting the change to Troop 206. From 1979 until 1986 I traveled the trail from Scout to Eagle Scout and on to Asisstant Scoutmaster.

It’s The Journey Itself

Scouting was a big part of my life growing up. So naturally my memory of youth is filled with scouting related activities. My recollections of Cub Scouts are tied mostly to den meetings at leaders homes with the occasional pack meeting and events like Pinewood Derbies. I had a brief opportunity to visit with my Cub Scout Den Mother a couple of years ago and instantly flashed on her back yard and kitchen table where I spent my Wednesday afternoons for a couple years.

Advancement was important to Pack 254 and to Troop 254, though my time in Troop 254 was short. I remember always looking ahead at what was coming next and to get my next Rank. My mother and I moved from Willow Glen the summer of 1979 and I had only been a Scout for six months. The move was made while I was on a genealogy trip with my grandmother back to Kansas for the big family reunion. When we got back I was in a new apartment I had never seen before. I was there for a week when it was time to “ship out” on my first trip to scout camp.

Stress in the Sierras

Camp High Sierra has always held strong memories for me, some of great fun and accomplishment, and some of hardship and great stress. My first year at High Sierra was difficult. I had not transfered to my new troop yet and and so I had to go as a Solo Scout. My mother thought it would be a lot of fun for me to be at camp for two weeks rather than the traditional one week adventure.

Under normal circumstances she would have been right, but these were not normal circumstances. With my life being relocated while I was gone for six weeks, then coming home to a new and strange environment, finding a lot of my things gone/broken/damaged etc. and only having a week to process it all, then heading out as a new Scout to a camp more than three hours away from home with a bunch of strangers… It was, to say the least, a difficult time for me. After the first week I was ready to come home. A couple of pleading phone calls later relief was in site, my mother and aunt were on their way to pick me up.

You might think this soured me on summer camp but it turned out to be a lot of fun on reflection and I was lucky to have been able to see the situation for what it was, a difficult set of circumstances. As it turned out the next year at High Sierra was a lot of fun. I had a year to get to know my fellow scouts in Troop 206 and while I was one of the youngest scouts at that time I jumped in and made the best of it.

The following year I didn’t make it to High Sierra with the troop because I was working on staff at Camp Stuart in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Saratoga for the entire summer. While I liked working at Camp Stuart there wasn’t much opportunity for advancement and Troop 206 was strong on advancement at that time.

Keep Moving Forward

After a couple of years in 206 I had become established. The older scouts that were there when I had come in had moved on, Scoutmasters had changed out and I had been working my way through leadership positions in the troop and had been plugging away at new rank. 206 was with out a doubt a camping and advancement oriented troop. Once a month we were on a weekend camping trip. Each patrol was responsible for its own food and planning, and each trip had some skill building along with opportunities to move up the next rank.

Then it happened… The 50 Miler!

It was one of the Holy Grails of scouting. A 50 mile backpack trip that would take a week. Out in the middle of nowhere, if you got hurt, it was many hours and a helicopter ride before you would get to a hospital. Sound pessimistic? The Scout Moto is Be Prepared! It was a well planed and orchestrated event. We did several prep hikes on our monthly camping trips to get ready for the 50. One of my favorites was the 26 mile Skyline-to-the-sea hike. It began at the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 35 in the Santa Cruz mountains down through Big Basin National Park and out to the Pacific Ocean north of Santa Cruz. It was a long and grueling 3 days, but well worth the effort.

I am and have always been a big guy. When traversing long distances it is the slowest person that sets the pace for the group. Most of the time I was that pace setter. Some times it was tough having that distinction, especially when some of the other guys felt bogged down. It was made clear on more than one occasion that some of my peers were not pleased with my pace, but I plugged on. The 50 was in the Emigrant Basin National Forrest and was a hike I will never forget. Reaching the turn around point was a huge relief. After making camp I had to lose myself for a little while and have a mini-breakdown before I could rejoin the group. On the way back out we stopped at a lake along the trail for a swim, a one mile swim, another of the Grail achievements. As exhausting as this trip was, it was a huge accomplishment for me.

The 50 Miler was a turning point. Up until then I didn’t have much of a sense of self, I felt as though I was the fat kid slowing everyone down. Completing the 50 AND the Mile Swim on the same trip made a huge difference in my self esteem. To my fellow scouts it was most likely not all that evident, but for better or worse, I was a different person after that.

The Long and Short of It

In the long run, Scouting has been very good to me. I have lasting friendships with fellow scouts and scout leaders to this day. There is more to this post but I am getting upwards of a eleven hundred words and at some point I need to get some “day job” work done today. For now I will leave you with…

To Be Continued…

wasn’t that fun

Well, yesterdays tirade was fun. This whole lack of sleep thing is taking its toll on me. While I didn’t manage to get up at 5:30 as planned, I did get up and in the shower before 07:00. It’s 08:30 now and I am up, fed and caffeinated, and in the office typing after getting some organizing done in here. So, a bit of a late start but back on schedule.

Yay me!

After expressing myself yesterday I managed to get started on building a business plan for FlyBoyJon, or as the working title FBJ Aviation. Later I will be working on that again. I haven’t gotten much farther than the summary, product offering, and market yet but it is moving forward.

FBJ is beginning to pick up some speed. Once I have a basic business plan put together I am going to work on a pitch letter for commercial sponsorship and build a contact list and start hitting the phone/email. One way or another I’m gonna make this happen.

I had some awesome visualizations of the short format episodic and some show openings and closings. Now all I need to do is get them down in my notes. That’s what I am working on this morning.

That’s all for now.

working on a new daily ritual

First off I need to get up at a reasonable hour. I used to get up at dark:thirty to great the day and face the commute or open shop. The last couple of years though, I have been a huge slacker when it comes to getting up in the AM. Getting up when I need too for appointments and the like is not a problem, it’s not that I am a sloth or something, I just havent felt the NEED to be up and running that early.

I tried setting a routine schedule a while back but that didn’t work out to well. This time I think I will start with just getting up and having a basic start time for stuff that needs to get done. Oh, that reminds me, I need to figure out what that is. What do I NEED to get done. This is a large contribution to the funk-factor as of late. That, and the huge lack of restful sleep.

It has been a long time since I could sleep well. The current residents in the complex seem to be much less respectful of others peace and quiet and in general. It’s not unusual for me to be woken up up 10 or more times between midnight and four in the morning. For some reason people have no clue that there voices are loud. I really don’t want to hear peoples cell phone conversations at three in the morning! Take it inside please! Oh, and the door slamming is getting ridiculous. Car doors, apartment doors, stomping up the stairs and down the walkways, driving in at two or three in the morning with your car stereo blasting, seriously, didn’t your parents teach you any manners? I feel like I have become the cranky old fart screaming “Get off my lawn, ya damn kids!”

Between the neighborhood punks vandalizing stuff, idiot drivers, people without basic common sense, a grasp of courtesy, or the apparent ability to rub a couple of brain cells together to get a spark, I am ready for a change.

There is so much I want to get done, I just cant seem to pull it together to make any of it happen.

Getting off the arse:

  • Start getting up at 05:30
  • First on the To Do list is go for a walk
  • Be ready to rock by 08:00

Now that I am up and moving at a good hour, its time to actually get some stuff done. When I have work to do here around the complex I don’t like starting it before 10:00. Residents are still getting out as late as 09:30 so 10:00 is a safe bet almost every day. Much of the stuff on my list has been on hold due to the weather. Now that it is clearing up I can get back to the list.

Along with the work here at the complex I have my own projects I am trying to get going. One of the difficulties has been making the time to get my projects moving forward and making time for the day job as it were. Now I need to get the ball rolling.

Rolling the ball:

  • Between 08:00 and 10:00 and go down to the office and work
    • blog(s)
    • paper(s)
    • book(s)
    • business plan(s)
    • media
    • social media
  • From 10:00 to 16:00 Tuesday through Friday do the “day job”
  • Mondays are work on my own project days
    (the gardeners are on property)
  • After 16:00 things are open

The other part of this is to bring my focus in tight. As a person who is constantly thinking and organizing in my head, it is a difficult to do. This is one of the reasons I do very well in projects that have a lot of diversity and complexity, I can see the over-all and how each smaller part relates to the whole. The difficulty with this is that it can be hard to work on the smallest segments. It can also make it difficult to describe the entire project to some one else when it is in the early stages.

As an exercise I need to limit my projects which means I need to shut some down and back burner several others. I need to limit myself to two projects that are already underway; Grave Mistake and FlyBoyJon everything else needs to get shelved for now. Genealogy and archive projects are shut down for now, including two related book projects and a blog. My screenplay and other book projects are also on the back-burner.

Let’s see how it goes.