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Sex, lies and the truth… a new mindset for this old curmudgeon ?

February 16, 2017

SEX
Just down the hallway from the oval office she was hurriedly wiping drops of liquid from her dress as she rose from her kneeling position. Because of the location and participants the occasional encounter between these two monica2consenting adults this encounter soon to become national news when described as ‘not having sexual relations‘.

LIES
Standing before the podium and a room full of news people and cameras it was stated as fact that the ‘affordable care act’ would save you and I $2,500 dollars over our present medical coverage and we would be able to “keep the doctors we now have”.

TRUTH
Are we not all tired of the same twisted truths told to us by our political leaders? Aren’t we also totally feed up with a news media that drones on for days, like a dog ripping apart an old bone, when they have even the hint of foul play withing the government irregardless if it is based in truth or not? Well I am and I have found that for the past week since I have avoided any televised news casts or read any online news web sites my general aggravation level has diminished, but there has also been a down side to this personal censorship…. loss of inspiration.

It seems to me that without exposure to any national or world news I have no seeds of illumination. It is akin to when you were young and fell and got a bad scrape on your body, as it scabbed over you would find yourself absently scratching at the scab, well that’s what the news did to me. I would repeatedly hear some act of stupidity or arrogance on the news and after a while, just like that old scab, I had to scratch that itch or as in the past write about it.

Now resigned to the fact that I am just one voice shouting into the wilderness against the wrongs that I perceive I am joining the tens of millions of people across this nation who just don’t give a dam what happens. Sure I am ignoring that there is some organization or hierarchy out there that is continually mustering and financially supporting agitators to thwart any actions by the current administration and that same group is making sure the media attacks every move emanating from the White House, but my words will have no effect on their actions whatsoever.

Now that I am a neophyte in the world of Americas uncaring I must find new subjects to write about. I have thought of and no doubt will write in depth about my life in the Alaskan wilderness but remembering the old adage to ‘write about what you know’ it can be a bit daunting.

So what is left to write about
but ones own life
from births and deaths
to the many struggles we all share.

…..Then again
our nation was founded by
ordinary people
speaking and standing up
for what they believed was right
so this old curmudgeon
mat yet return
to poke his nose in where it doesn’t belong.

Something is wrong… when reality and depression collide

February 12, 2017
img_8034

My old home of 14 years

…back in 1995 something was definitely wrong because the four lane highway had now turned into a street. I had, just a few months ago, traveled North on this same Alaskan highway and never had one problem. However now heading South to the lower forty-eight it looks likely I missed a turn somewhere as the four lane highway now turned into an ever shrinking side street.

That same feeling from 1995 is with me today as I woke up at 10:30 in the morning. Yes I have found that when one is depressed staying in bed asleep definitely makes the day go faster. You have way less time to think about the many possible decisions that lead you to this moment and it also gives you less time to wonder what to do next.

I am sure you have noticed my lack of postings of late especially when the news if ripe with fodder for criticism. From the politically bent five million dollar commercials aired on the super bowl to the blatantly skewed ruling by the ninth circuit court which never addressed the constitutionality of the Presidents actions but ruled on it just the same. Well I have a reason for this funk that has settled over ‘casa-del-pete’ and left whatever creative juices I had locked away, my lease here in Texas is up and this week I must either renew it or give notice I will be leaving.

Many of you who know the story about my 14 years living in that wilderness cabin are saying it is an obvious choice. Because living in that Texas apartment you are close to your son, his wife and grandchildren plus it has electricity, running water, refrigerator and 24/7 internet and phone service. Whereas back at the cabin you had none of those things plus -20 to -30 degree temperatures and yearly snow that went over your knee’s that had to be dug out to move your truck… its a no-brainer isn’t it?

To those people I say you have never spent any extended time in Alaska or else you would understand Alaska is not just another place to live…. it is a state of mind …and as I found during my first trip to Alaska it grabbed a hold of my soul and has to this day not let go. Yes I now have time with my family in Texas and live with many amenities I did not have back in the cabin and yes the weather back in Alaska is at times quite severe but for some unexplained reason while living there those things were just a part of your life… part of being an Alaskan.

Though hard to accept
reality has found
my detour to Alaska
on my life’s road is at an end
and a new and maybe final stretch
of the road of life
now awaits me.

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Just a bad dream…?

February 6, 2017

mky9The shock of one minute being in deep sleep dreaming and the next sitting upright in bed sent my heart racing. I sat there in the inky darkness with my eyes open not seeing anything but fully aware that the ‘buzzing’ in my chest was my designation for the Afib that plagued me. As I reached over for my nitro tablets the buzzing and tightening in my chest quelled and I held off taking any. In a few minutes I was calm again and able to remember bits an pieces of the dream. In my mind I saw myself driving across this nation like I had done so many times before, only this time at each bend in the road I was confronted with scenes that made my blood run cold like….

living in a land where free speech was met with violence
or
Living in a land where you could go to jail
because you did not want to provide a service for someone
because their lifestyle was anathema to your religion
or
living in a land where you went to jail
if you believed in corporal punishment for your children
or
Living in a land where you were labeled a racist
if you wanted to enforce already established laws concerning immigration
or
Living in a land where violent demonstrations and destruction of the property
was not punished by the local police.
or
Living in a land where teachers not parents taught our children about sex
or
living in a land where being politically correct was paramount
over telling someone the truth
or
living in a land where your sexual identity was determined
by how you felt not based on the organs
you were borne with
or
living in a land where there were no more borders
or
living in a land where pride in your nation
was considered selfish and wrong

…here I thought it was a horrible nightmare
but I soon realized it was just me ‘blanking’ out
while listening to the news on the radio.

A fine example of higher education ?

February 2, 2017

berkley4

Even the most committed of you my dear readers who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum than I will have to admit that the violence and stupidity displayed by the rioters at the University of California Berkley can only exemplify one of two things. Either the students at the university do not believe in freedom of speech or it was a riot instigated by outside sources.

If we accept the premise that the students do not believe in freedom of speech then we must ask where did they acquire this distorted understanding of our nations constitution? The speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos a gay conservative, was invited by the university to speak and as we have seen in the past as offensive as some guest speakers are, like the president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University, most speeches go on without the violence we saw at Berkley.

Has the quality of our schools been lowered so much that we do not teach the principles of the very foundation of our Nation any more? Or have these same teachers so polluted and skewed the essence of the constitution that the students now believe if anyone not agreeing with what the general beliefs are is worthy of the violence we see here?

If that is not true then the other reason for the riots is even more troubling, because it means someone or some organization is working as a puppeteer pulling the strings of this demonstration. This puppeteer raised its ugly head during the inauguration day celebration and continued with the protests and violence at Berkley, leading one to believe we can expect more of the same in the weeks and months ahead.

So either our children no longer believe
in freedom of speech
or someone
is working to undermine
our constitution
I do not know which is worse….

CQ CQ CQ – Redux…. Why we are hams

February 1, 2017
pete-at-w1aw

Avery proud day as a guest operator at W1AW

I wrote an article for QST’s Op-Ed section and was proud to have it published in the August 2012 issue. Over the years I have attracted a number of hams to my Alaskan blog and thought those of you who enjoy the amateur radio avocation might appreciate reading it, so I resurrected the original draft and present it to you for your consideration.

The gray light of the sub-arctic winter fell across the face of the tuner as I looked up and watched the needle settle. I live in a small 20×32 foot cabin literally on the edge of nowhere. But here in my loft lovingly called my shack I felt truly at home. Daily I would repeat the process of tuning and listening for a signal that somewhere someone was calling, and at times pondering the question why.

What is the nature of a amateur radio operator, a Ham? What drives us to spend hours a day week after week turning that knob that (may) connect us with a total stranger somewhere in the world? It is hard enough in these days of cell phones, tweets, Facebook, instant messaging and texting to explain to others the allure of amateur radio. When stopped in a parking lot and asked about the number and size of the antennas sprouting like a wheat field on your car, it usually takes only a minute to have most questionnaires blank faced and wishing they had just taken there groceries home without stopping to ask. Other times having neighbors stop by and question why I would want to have a windmill in my back yard, left me incredulous. This while I was raising my new antenna tower, would bring a similar response and a ‘why bother’ shrug of there shoulder. It’s at times like these I sometimes re-examine my love of the avocation of amateur radio.

My personal story is a long time, 56 years, in coming. Many fateful steps proceeded my first QSO and for that story we will leave to another time. Suffice it to say I found myself in a remote cabin in Alaska, a 130 mile round trip to town, where I would be able to call my children. My son, KB3DVS, was on me constantly to get my license so we could talk on a more regular basis. It took 6 years of his visiting and the constant reminder that if I had a license I could talk to him anytime and besides he said you need it for emergencies.

His gentle prodding moved me to study and finally pass the first two exam pools and get on the air. I had earlier in my life tried to balance raising two children, work and keeping my wife happy with studying for the code test with no success. Here by myself in the wilderness is was still hard to absorb the code but it eventually came. My first contact, with my son in Philadelphia, came on August 6th 2002 and from my log I see on this first contact we could barely hear each other with signal reports of 3/3. But the very next day we had exchanged reports of 5/5 and had our first great QSO.

This was done on my end with a simple wire and a second hand Ten-Tec radio running on battery power. With that contact I was hooked. No more spending hours at a time on a snow covered icy road. I just went into my loft and reached out and usually if not my son, someone was always there. Of course, at first, I got the bug of chasing down WAS and WAC, but soon found that this was not the driving force that had me returning day after day to the shack. It was the (magic?) I felt when a contact was made and a good conversation ensued.

So back to the question at hand what is the nature of an amateur radio operator? I believe it is as varied as the number of operators. By it very nature is it the exchange of a communication between two operators. It is the how of the contact that is so varied. Weather it be CW, SSB or digital it is still that same exchange of information. But one’s interest could lye in SSB or digital formats on normal frequencies or one may want to try and bounce that signal off a satellite, meteor shower or for that matter the moon. Others might have a passion for emergency communications, contesting, QSO parties, IOTA, SOTA, DXpedition’s or field day operations. Still others focus on certain bands they feel offer them a challenge weather it be 6 or 160 meters.

As for myself, and I am sure more than a few others, it is the act itself of turning the dial and exploring the bands. I live in isolation by choice but two or three times a day I climb up to my shack and reach out to the world. Never knowing what the conditions will be or if I will be able to copy someone. But there is no better feeling than that of finding someone out there who is a kindred spirit and have a memorable conversation…..

….Knowing later while writing the entry into the log

that there are many more just like that one

waiting to hear the words

CQ CQ CQ

The new immigration policy…. not so different than the old.

January 30, 2017

Izzy Berdan, of Boston, center, wears an American flags as he chants slogans with other demonstrators during a rally against President Trump's order that restricts travel to the U.S., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Boston. Trump signed an executive order Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 that bans legal U.S. residents and visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days and puts an indefinite hold on a program resettling Syrian refugees. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Relatives of detained immigrants or liberal paid protestors?

AP Photo/Steven Senne

The boat docked at Ellis Island, New York, on a raw cold morning. A family carried their baby off the boat and into the first of many lines so they could be processed and allowed to enter the United States. That family had worked hard to save the money needed for the trip and have what was needed to show immigration officials that they could support themselves. They had the required sponsor a relative already living in America and had the needed medical clean bill of health. But above all that they were truly blessed for the chance to blend in and accept the American way of life.

Since 1917 and revised throughout the years we have had immigration laws on the books regarding who may enter and what they needed to do before they were allowed into the country. Over the years the laws were refined and quotas were changed as to how many people from countries around the world may enter and become citizens. So I ask why have we witnessed this week total chaos over this change in the immigration policy?

This weeks ‘temporary’ ban on immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for some reason has ignited a firestorm of protest even though other administrations have done exactly the same thing. President Carter in 1979 banned and deported 7,000 people who were from Iran and even President Obama imposed a freeze over the processing of Iraqi refugees for six months with both actions producing no major protests, so again I ask why now?

Considering that on on the 28th of January 325,000 people from foreign countries came into the United States and 109 people were detained for further questioning the actions of the current administration pale compared to what other administrations have done. I must ask were did the thousands of protesters, who had no direct connection to the detained immigrants, come from? More to the point where did those relatives and friends of the immigrants get the money to almost instantly hire lawyers and file injunctions come from?

No I am not echoing Alex Jones or an article from infowaars.com, I am simply stating the facts that the protests and injunctions appear orchestrated by someone or some organization with deep pockets. More to the point it just seems odd that at the New York, LA and Dallas airports there were thousands of people who all decided at the same time to show up and protest.

Overall I believe the time out on immigration from countries unfriendly to the United States is a good thing, if only to review and implement new standards for deep background checks. The logic that announcing this new policy immediately and not giving a waiting period, because if there were someone planning on an act of terror they no doubt would move up their travel plans, is an irrefutable one.

If the administration
also returns to a strict enforcement
of all the immigration laws on the books
along with the new policy
maybe more than
one life will be saved.

CQ CQ CQ…. a personal vent

January 28, 2017
p1020381

My ham shack in Alaska

Most of you will not understand this posting because it deals with an avocation of mine, amateur radio. However since there is no one, other than my son, here in Texas to vent my consternation to this brief posting will have to do. Amateur radio has been a part of my life now since 2001. Back in Alaska it was not only something I looked forward to frequently throughout the day but something that gave my life a sense of purpose and sanity, but here in Texas it was relegated to a once in a while occurrence.

When I first started my journey on the road of learning about Amateur radio my ‘Elmer’ and every book I read on the subject said it was not how good or expensive the radio is it is the antenna that is the most important part of the station. At my present location I am restricted to what I can do as far as an antenna system and without a good antenna ‘ham’ radio is little more than a glorified CB. My son gave me a nice vertical antenna and though not in compliance with regulations at my apartment complex I have managed to once again get ‘on the air’.

dscf3065

My Texas ‘shack’ ?

This was accomplished by my operating in stealth mode, only raising the antenna whenever I wanted to operate. Not the best of circumstances but it at least gave me the occasional opportunity to reach out and see what was there. Now however I fear even that is in danger. I was on the radio yesterday with a station based at a VA hospital in California and for the first time in quite a while my noise floor was low and even the signal I was putting out was acknowledged at an S-9 level. I had barely finished the contact when a neighbor was knocking on my door telling me I was interfering with her daytime television show.

Not being one to quickly grasp at situations I mumbled an apology and shut down the radio. Now in hindsight I know I should have investigated more to analyze how best to avoid the problem. Could it be my placement of ground radials or the position of my antenna, or maybe my grounding was insufficient in any event I know I will have to speak with her again if I want to get back on the air. I have also thought about inquiring with other neighbors to see if they too have heard any interference.

But all of this does not address the reason I feel as bad as I do, because of all the problems over the years I have encountered in operating my radio this is the first time I have had to shut down my station. To most you would not understand its gravity to me, but it is a loss I would never think I would encounter. After giving up my wilderness cabin and the Alaskan lifestyle that I enjoyed for two decades this avocation which was borne in that remote cabin is my last remaining link to my sense of freedom.

I have vented
I know what needs to be done
I need only
find the will to do it.