Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break

As I drive around Arkansas I have noticed a hint of spring in the air. Little buds are starting to sprout at the end of branches. The air smells different and where brown covers the ground a hint of green has started to appear.

The best thing about spring is not only the change in colors but the signaling of a new season fast approaching. The winter chill hanging around has started to give way to warmer air.

It gives you the feeling of a phoenix rising from the ashes of a frozen tundra. People in general seem to be more upbeat. Friendly and less dower.

There is an expectation of good things just around the corner. You feel lighter and happier. The sky has a blueness to it that seems dampened during the winter months. A heaviness that just permeates everything and everyone.

Maybe its because of the bundled clothing. Your closed off and separated from your surroundings. Unwilling to allow yourself to feel connected to anyone or anything. Or maybe its because during the winter months the cold keeps us locked away.

I know for me the spring and summer months are when I feel the most alive and open and ready for new things.

When the thermometer starts getting above 70 the windows come down in the car. The tunes get turned up. A smile comes more easily.

Ah Spring looking forward to just having a break from the winter blues. Mow the grass water the lawn and just send some quality time with my kids and the wife.

Kinda short today but its late and I'm tired.

Starting to work nights now which means I will be missing the great sunshine of spring. It's the downside of what I do. giving up the day time in order to earn a living at night. The graveyard or vampire hours are the worst.

You spend days in bed sleeping and your u all night working. Its great for getting the week to fly by but not so much if your at home.

Also this week my Bluetooth antenna died on my phone this week. Nothing makes you feel more stupid than when your dealing with a smart phone. Also its a sad state when I have to get a new replacement phone and then spend a large amount of time getting it back up and working .

Ugh I'm tired and been up all night. Try this again later.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's All About The Content Baby!

When I first started out running the road you had very few options for car content. That is to say if you were going to log a lot of road miles your choices were either the AM / FM radio, cassette tapes, silence or if the weather was nice the sound of wind with an undercurrent of what passed for earlobe entertainment.

As time has went on the advent of satellite radio. But you had to be in a Ford branded radio to get it and then later your choices doubled because you could also get it in a Chevy brand.

There was stil the option of regular radio and then as cassette tapes were on their way out you could listen to CD's.

Now you have MP3 players on your phone. Internet radio on your phone and also the aforementioned satellite radio in the car or on your phone.

CD's have went the way of the dodo bird. Which is a good thing because tapes and CD's take up space. and they weigh a ton when packed into your carry on or in your checked luggage.

Which reminds me you also have books that come on your phone or tablet. So now when packing your bag you no longer have to make room for paperback or hard cover books.

This is definitely a case where technology is a great thing. I listen to 3 different pod casts on a regular basis. Adam Carolla, Jay Mohr and Marc Maron. I also have only the music I want to listen to downloaded on both my phone and tablet.

I carry around 3 digital books at all times. I also have a subscription to XM / Sirius radio. I now have more content to pass the time than I have time to listen or watch. And speaking of watching when I started to run the road if you missed an episode of your favorite program well thems the breaks kid. But now with Hulu and Netflix all of my programs are right there whenever I want to watch them.

And here is one better for you. I can video chat with the wife and kids whenever I want to. Gone are the days when only the sound of a voice was all you had.

I play words with friends all the time with people scattered all over the country. And of course there's facebook and twitter for that immediate connection.

Here's something crazy. When I was in the Navy you only had the written word to keep you connected to family and friends. Today I understand they have email and a internet connection to keep them connected while they are at sea. How crazy is that??

I'm still holding out for the flying cars. Speaking of cars. Used to be I kept a truckers atlas beside me at all times to get from one place to the other. Now I have a GPS that fits in my pocket for all of my navigation needs. And if for some reason that either fails or I don't have access to it there is always Google Maps to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Yesterday I picked up another pair of Bluetooth headphones. Several of my peers have this brand made by LG. It doubles as a music headset as well as a telephonic headset. Battery lasts for 15 hours and I wear both  earbuds so I get that stereo affect when I'm on the phone and the best part is no matter how nosy it is the background stuff is filtered out. Love it.

Now when I write the great American Road Warrior manual I'm going to include a chapter on both content for long drives but also for air travel. I'm also going to include information on the best headsets to carry and Apps for the road. It's a must if your going to run the road a lot.

I'm also going to include a chapter on luggage. Now tell me how it is that FedEx can ship my tools and luggage all over the world and never breaks a handle or a wheel. But if I give it to the airlines guaranteed if I have to check it more than 3 times I'm going to get a bag back that is voided of zippers, wheels and handles.

Give you an example. When I started traveling I was buying luggage on an average of twice a year. Now it never mattered how expensive it was or who made. In fact I came up with the bright idea of trading in my softsided luggage for a clam shell hard shell. Daring the airlines to break this one. First trip out I get it back with a golf ball size hole in the middle of it and both wheels missing.

When I went to ticket counter and complained I got the "sir  its normal wear and tear and we don't cover any of those defects"

SO I moved up to a 1650 pelican case. It made it about a year before I got it back with a defect. The defect was the handle on the side. Now if your not familiar with pelican you should be. Although its not sexy (pretty much comes in black) the special ops guys use it as does NASA and major outfits that need luggage that is very sturdy. Its waterproof, fire proof and the handles and wheels are attached with 2in thick reinforced hardened plastic like rubber. It is the bag you should always use for air travel.

BUT I got MINE back from Delta with the handle cleaved completely off. It looked like someone had taken a laser to it and the right wheel had been literally carved out.

Now I ask you what the Fuck are they doing to destroy this piece of luggage? And when I showed my now destroyed bag to the airline all I got was a shrug and a "sir its normal wear and tear". And That was delivered with a straight face.

Name me another industry that gets away with this kind of nonsense??

You just want to go across the counter and beat the shit out of someone. Or at the very least smack that complete indifferent look off their face.

I'm starting a 12 day stint out here in wonderful AR. The best thing to say is its getting warmer. Plus I have had great mexican food everyday.

And since we are now minus one dog the hunt for another one is in full swing. We like the Boxer breed and are looking for a pup to replace the one who had to be put down over the weekend. I miss him I do and when I was at home this weekend I found myself looking for him. Its sad but like they say at least he's not suffering anymore.

Speaking of chapters to be written in my great American Road novel I'm also going to include a chapter on rental cars. It is my opinion the heated seat is the single greatest invention ever!! I live that heated seat a lot. to the point I really don't need the heater on. The drawback is it makes you a wee bit sleepy at times.

Not a lot to ponder today but tomorrow I'm going to write about guns, sequester and the media plus a spattering of our defunct political system. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Death in The Family

Its starts as an innocent trip to the vet. You know something is wrong. You know it could be serious. But you tell yourself your pet will be fine. I mean he's been with you as a part of your family for the last 10 years.  Deep down though you suspect it could be a lot worse than just old age. The lethargy and distended belly speak volumes as to how bad it could be. But the real tip off is his attitude. You raised him since he was a puppy. Since the day he was wrapped up in a blanket to protect him from the cold he has always had a personality that was as unique as anybody I've known

Curious and energetic crossed with an intelligence and a spark of life in his eyes giving him an almost intangible human like quality. Indian Hills Judd was  more than a boxer. He was a part of the family.

But we as humans treat our puppies like people which is why we become so attached to them in the first place. They become our defacto kids, confidants, witnesses to our fallacies and our victories.  Comforting in our time of grief.

A cancerous tumor had worked its way around the main artery that feeds his heart. The vet saying it was both inoperable and so large in size that putting him down was the only real humane option he had. What led us to his office in the first place really was the distended belly.

A tumor we were to find out that had burst and as dumping blood into his belly. Because it was an anti coagulant type of tumor the bleeding would never stop.

When he went into surgery he had a 1 in 3 chance of survival. the one chance being the tumor was isolated to one location and was not cancerous. So we knew going in his odds were slim at best. But hearing the news the next day didn't make it any easier.

the hardest part was my wife and I knew was still to come. We were going to have to break the news to our kids. Which as it turned at would be harder on us than it was on them.

When we told them there comments were "at least we still have 2 dogs". Who knew in a moment of trial our little kids would be the source of strength we would be able to draw from.

R.I.P to our beloved Judd.. You will be missed dearly.  And Judd could you watch over Bogie?? We love and miss you.