Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Martian

All my "for fun" reading has been set in space recently... I finished The Martian by Andy Weir not too long ago.

Apparently some people need to read the book to understand how difficult it would be to live on Mars.

Friday, January 31, 2014

So I'm Back

Looks like I missed a lot of fun things on the radio front during the last week and I hope to get caught up. See, I wasn't here. I was there. There being Disney World (fun) and then Atlanta (not fun).

We took our daughter and went with another family to see Mickey. Six plus luggage for a fun few days in Orlando via a rented minivan. It was a blast. We saw plenty of princesses and rode lots of rides. The Toy Story Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios may be the best.

We then started home on our 600 mile return trip. Unfortunately, that put us in Atlanta as the storm hit and they closed every school, the government, and every business at the same time. Atlanta's roads couldn't handle that on a regular day much less when the roads are getting slick. At one point, it took us almost exactly an hour to go one mile. We decided to find shelter and made it to the Crown Plaza. (We were too slow in deciding to seek shelter I have determined in my AAR.) I thought the six of us would probably end up spending the night in the lobby.

There were some people there for a conference. Two of them took pity on us and decided they would bunk together and give us a room. I am so grateful for their gift. We ended up with another lady in our room that had a 15 month old with a broken leg. They were Atlanta locals, but couldn't get home either. So, five adults, two pre-school girls, and the infant. The hotel brought up a crib. The mother slept on the coach. The girls in our group had the beds and the two dads had the floor. The infant was not happy - hungry, teething, who knows - and would cry/scream every 15 minutes. I have bruises on my hips from "sleeping" on the floor. And I can't tell you how grateful I was to be there. It could have been so much worse.

Before we bedded down, I should also mention that the Crown Plaza opened up their restaurant and fed everyone for free. They were even giving away drinks.

The next day, the six of us moved four miles to home of a friend from church back in Knoxville. He and his family took us in for the night. We got hot showers and more food. I even got to watch the UT basketball game on TV. They were so generous.

We left the next morning and made it back to Knoxville yesterday afternoon - safe and sound. I'm leaving out a lot of details. It is all a bit of a blur still. But, I'm back and need to catch up on home stuff, the job search, my PMP studies, and some radio news.

I'm very happy to be home.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Time Travel

Iran for the win:
"The Tehran scientist told the Fars state news agency that his device can 'predict the future in a print out after taking readings from the touch of a user,' adding that it uses a set of complex algorithms to 'predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy.'"
My favorite part:
“'This project is not against our religious values at all. The Americans are trying to make this invention by spending millions of dollars on it where I have already achieved it by a fraction of the cost,' he said. 'The reason that we are not launching our prototype at this stage is that the Chinese will steal the idea and produce it in millions overnight.'”
Via the Blaze

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I agree they are getting more aggressive - aggressive with the people they are supposed to protect.

I've had run-ins with the TSA before (and another thing about that encounter).

I had another discussion with them this week. My daughter was sick when we left Knoxville for the happiest place on earth, so we had her digital thermometer in a carry-on. No issues when going through security in Knoxville - in fact, we got to go through the metal detector instead of the cancer machine. Win!

On the return, my wife and daughter got to go through the metal detector, so I asked if I could go through, too. Surprisingly, they let me. No fuss. So far, so good. (In fact, on the way to Orlando, I got to meet Jessie Godderz of Big Brother fame aka Mr. PEC-Tacular.)

However, the aforementioned digital thermometer got flagged in the x-ray machine because it had a nine volt battery in it. They asked whose bag it was, so I pointed to the three year old. The TSA agent took the backpack to a metal table to do the search. He asked if there was a battery in the bag. We said yes and that it was in a digital thermometer. He could not find said thermometer in the bag and my wife kept reaching to help him. This seemed to annoy him as we were not supposed to touch the bag.

During the search, I don't remember what he said, but something set me off, so I started my usual speech about my tax dollars at work and security theater. This really got his knickers in a knot. After finally finding the "hidden" thermometer, he took the bag to be re-scanned. While he was there, he must have asked for a supervisor to talk with the grumpy old white man.

The supervisor asked me if I had a problem with them searching my bag. I said I had a problem with the inconsistency - that the thermometer had not been a problem at the other airport. She said I should be glad that they found it here to keep me safe. What?!?! I should be glad you found a thermometer?!?! These people have no concept that false-positives are a bad thing, too. She was quite aggressive in her tone and insisted that I was in the wrong.

My wife got nervous and asked me to drop it.

The original agent held out the bag to me, but would not let go. I truly believe that he was hoping I would jerk it out of his hand, so that they could give me an even harder time. Finally, he let go and we moved on to our flight.

I cannot believe so many people are happy with the TSA as stated in the first link of this post. Security theater is better than reality.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Drug Cartel Areas of Influence

Since my company has a plant in Mexico, I probably should not read reports like this one from Stratfor. It shows a map of where the various drug cartels are in control. I think I am ready for a job where I never have to leave Knoxville.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What is your name? Top Ten Replies to the TSA

As I mentioned earlier, I got selected by the TSA for additional screening and one of their super sophisticated terrorist detection mechanisms is to ask "What is your name?" Despite my disposition for being a smart ass, I answered with my name. Here are the Top Ten answers, I should have given:

10. Eric Stratton. Damn glad to meet you.
9. أنا لا أتحدث الإنجليزية. (Arabic for "I don't speak English")
8. Barack Hussein Obama
7. Bob Smith
6. John Galt
5. Death to the Infidels!
4. What do you want it to be? (With a wink.)
3. Osama bin Laden
2. Saddam Hussein
1. Is this a trick question?

Friday, September 9, 2011

And another thing...

After examining my boarding pass and drivers license, the TSA agent asked me what my name was. I'm thinking she should know after looking at those two documents, but I tell her anyway. What kinda of stupid terrorist won't know the name on their ID? Yet another effective security measure if I ever saw one.

Lottery Winner

I just won the TSA lottery and got selected for additional screening. An alarm went off after a swab of my hand was tested. (Really appreciated the giggles and chorus of "ooooo" from the dozen agents/officers/other uniformed people when the machine buzzed. At least I was quickly moved to the area, so they could go back to chitchatting.) During my fondling session, they told me some lotions will trigger the alarm. Sounds like a good system to me. I feel safer already. I didn't pitch a fit as I want to get home today, but I expressed my displeasure to several of them and used the words "ridiculous" and "security theater." The only funny part was the raised eyebrow from one of the agents when he saw them pull a couple copies of American Rifleman (trips are when I catch up on my dead tree reading) from my bag. There are pretty pictures of some Kimbers on the back.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out of the Country

I'll be back soon. Lots to catch up on... including a Baofeng UV-3R Mark II.