Thursday, February 19, 2015

Redefining Terrorism?

I place very little faith and even less trust in this current administration and its agenda.  They do have a history of changing definitions.  I really have to wonder (it's not a very long stretch of idea) if the recent "Summit on Extremism" and this president's refusal to acknowledge the base behind the current slaughters is just another step in redefinition.  I don't see it as much of a side step to suddenly include freedom loving people willing to defend the Constitution and people willing to profess the name of Christ (no, it's not a cuss word) under the ambiguous umbrella of extremism.
Of course, if the SPLC declares someone or an organization as worthy of being watched and scrutinized, then it has to be accurate.  Right?!

And the effort to convince us that what the terror groups really need are jobs for them to lay down their weapons?  Please.  Spare me the diatribe.  Then Marie Harf goes on to claim that the administrations position on this is "too nuanced" for us to understand?
We understand, alright.  We understand.

All of this makes me think of Paul's letter to the Ephesians 4:13, 14:
 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Back on the saddle again

I used to do a lot of cycling.  Not logging as many miles as some of the modern die hards do, but at a time before cycling was "cool", it wasn't uncommon for me to log 1200 miles a season.  Not too bad considering I was in western PA and there was likely snow on the roads from November through late March.
Ahhh, but time marches on.  We get older and life responsibilities takes it's toll on available time, forcing our priorities to change to meet the demands of adulthood.  I still cycled as I could, but not riding nearly as many miles as I once had.
Still, there were times of binge-type riding, as situations allowed.  One such situation was almost ten years ago when I spent six months in Boulder, CO on a project.  I think that was some of the best riding I had ever done.  Even though Boulder is one of the liberal bastions of the state, full of old hippies and young hippie wanna-be's, it was still a pretty awesome place to spend a summer.
I had purchased a hard travel case, since I would be transporting my bike back and forth on a commercial airline.  The first trip out, however, was not on a plane.  My bike, packed neatly in it's hard case, was on the tractor trailer carrying the spacecraft payload that myself and the team I was on had spent the last numerous years building.  All boxes and containers were required to be labeled.  The label on the bike case stated; "Gyroscopically Stabilized Endurance Test Equipment". 
The hard case had proven it's worth, as I discovered craft beer in CO and never made a return trip without the hard case being packed carefully with not only the bike but good beer as well.
....But I digress...
One method of maintaining some semblance of fitness in the off season/ bad weather not suitable for riding is rollers.

Rollers not only give you various resistance, depending on gear selection, but also hone balance, as the slightest movement of the handlebars or slight lean can send the rider careening off the edge.
The rear wheel is nested on the two rear rollers which has a drive belt connecting them to the front roller.  The front wheel sits on top of the front roller  It is by the gyroscopic effect that keeps the rider upright.  It is a pretty good work out.  Typically the target pedal rate rate is around 90 r.p.m.  I had rollers before the "spinning" fad came to the gyms.
I  brought up a Hickok45 video to watch as I rode and was quite pleased with myself, staying on for the duration of the 20+ minute video.
But, it's been a few years since I've been on this ancient torture device and needles to say, my dismount is a bit rusty.  I failed to twist my foot enough to disengage the cleat from the pedal and quickly found myself doing an Artie Johnson tricycle impression.
I managed to break a cleat and get a little raspberry on my knee.

So what's that saying?  As easy as falling off a bike?  Yep.  I have proven that.  But persevere I must.  There is some excess baggage that I've acquired over the years and I must not let it get worse.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Alarm clocks

I have had various alarm clocks over the years.  Currently I have a Bose Wave that usually works well.  It's one that I married into and it has numerous nice features, such as two different alarm settings.  That works well as my wife and I get up at different times.  It also sounds pretty good too, on the rare occasion we play CD's or the radio.

Another nice feature and one that I really appreciate, is the gradual ramping up of volume of the alarm, therefore not jarring one out of sound sleep and starting the day off badly.  The snooze time is adjustable as well, which is great, because I, to my wife's chagrin, am a snooze alarmer.  I sometimes think that I get the best sleep in between alarms.
As much as I like this alarm clock, I have noticed over the last few years that it occasionally decides not to work.  Most notably if the alarm is not turned off and then back on, it may not trip when it is due.  Something must have gone wrong in the sequence of the smoke circuits last night/ this morning because my wife woke me about and hour and a half after the alarm should have gone off.  Grrrrr.

So I sprang out of bed, dashed through my morning routine and headed down the road to work.
Usually I have a pretty flexible schedule because most times I work independently.  That is to say that there is no one watching when we come and go (typically) and there is no time clock to punch.  This morning was not one of those independent work days.  I had gotten sucked back into a prior project to help make some repairs to an item that failed.
Even though I was later getting to work than usual, I wasn't as late as I expected.  And that got me to a sad realization about my job and it's location.  I wasn't so much concerned about being late.  What annoyed me was that by being and hour and a half later than usual meant that I was going to be in much more traffic, which meant the increased odds of being at the whim of the consequences of some idiot's poor driving skills.
But fortunately my concerns never materialized and except for a considerable amount more traffic, I arrived at work with no incidents.  Glad this didn't happen yesterday when we had a bit of freezing rain.