“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”


"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Monday, February 20, 2017

Overkill

So, I recently had cause to order some adhesive strips from Amazon, due to an unplanned vehicle replacement.

This isn't a complaint thread - they did great, as always, in price and service.

No, this is an observation on the packaging used:




The order in question is the small bag at bottom.

The packaging is the large box, complete with bubble wrap....

Can't say they didn't protect my purchase!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Good Security Resource

The link here was originally written to provide women with a resource addressing online and social privacy and safety in the digital age. However, it is a good set of tools for anyone interested in such things and unsure of where to start. Worth looking over.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Know your enemy

One of the persisten problems with the "War on a Verb" approach of the past 16 years has been definitions. This has shaped everything from the reluctance to say or do certain military things, to accusations of racism, bigotry and the like towards agencies and individuals concerned about who the threat is. The sad fact is that the VAST majority of people spouting off about the whole topic don't actually know what they are discussing (this includes .gov figures and politicians) - so, they either deliberately or accidentally contribute to the spread of bad information.

In particular, I'm discussing the whole concept and conversation about "Radical Islam," "Jihad," and the like.

Words matter. In understanding what is truly going on. In holding informed discussions. In every sense of making the appropriate decisions.

As a small bit towards helping, I encourage you to read this essay which discusses intelligently the differences between "Muslim," "Islamist," "Jihadist," "Takfiri," and the like. One of the best summaries I've seen, and very balanced towards facts not opinions. It also links to deeper sources should you have the interest.

Good reading for anyone concerned.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Interesting, and concerning thoughts

Lawdog has a post up here worthy of a read.

He's not the only one sharing this concern - a lot of people talk a good game, but don't realize the true dangers of a civil war, or even the run-up to one.

And a whole lot of folks, on both sides, are digging in their feet these days...

Saturday, January 28, 2017

One of the "Special Snowflakes" (NSFW Language)

So, this little example of commentary (allegedly) from one of the rioters at last week's inauguration ceremonies showed up bouncing around today:





Apparently being posted on one of the 4chan political boards and elsewhere. 
Now, while it has a certain funny irony to it if true, it also should be incentive for some deeper thought. 
First off - let's examine the open admissions in this person's post. Which, match similar public statements at other such "protests" over the past two decades, and thus has obviously become accepted practice. Let's see - we have admissions of plans to assault others, to damage property, and all with the goal of intimidation towards the other side. And, very obviously, with the expectation that, just like "times before," there would be no significant consequences for said actions. 
In big part, this is a direct result of society LETTING such things become accepted behavior. In an ever-downward spiral from the 1960's up to today, "protest" for many groups has become completely synonymous with violent activity. Now, this is certainly not the case for every group, or every cause - but it has become the norm more than not. Often it is nothing more than an element of 10% or so who show up with these goals in mind, because they know that such activity will get 90% of the press coverage. And, when such events occur, what happens now? Officers and communities step back and allow such activity, either refusing to shut it down, or making only the merest token of interventions. When businesses and residences are suffering thousands of dollars in damages, when officers and other individuals are injured attempting to limit the spread of the violence, the local political drive is towards accomodation rather than control of the situation. Witness Baltimore's mayor in 2016 and the famous "">we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well" statement made in the public media. All of this often done in the name of respecting the First Amendment rights of the protestors...
Funny thing, that. Being a big fan of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the First Amendment discusses "peaceable assembly".  Neither the Founding Fathers, nor general society meant for it to cover wanton distruction, looting, or violence towards others. Which brings me back to the individual in question. Because it is absolutely apparent he DOES believe he is the victim in all of this - "We're the good guys." The outrage at being held accountable for such behaviors, the amazement that members are abandoning the cause when they might have to face consequences... all of it showing a mindset that somehow, because they're protesting against "The Man," in all his various forms, they should be held to a different standard. As sad as it is to realize, he is a victim in a way, for we have failed him. Much like a juvenile who commits crime after crime, with only the merest lectures as penalty, and then is shocked when at age 18 the same offense lands him with a jail term, we have taught the wrong lessons. By no means am I condoning a police state, or in any way saying we should cut down on protests or the rights of the people to address their government - we are founded on those beliefs, and they have been instrumental in addressing many wrongs throughout history. But, when we allow uncivilized behaviors, we only encourage more of it. When we give up the streets to destruction, we reap the consequences. And, when we fail to hold our citizens to the same standards of decency as others, it will only lead to more individuals who are shocked when they finally go too far and are held accountable.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Not mine, but I found it fitting

"Oh, you comment anonymously on the Internet. You must be so brave." —John Hancock, born OTD 1737 1st signer of the Declaration of Independence

Friday, January 20, 2017

Question for followers

Apparently, there are a number of people who follow me through RSS feeds and the like - which is rather flattering, given the infrequent rambles.

However, I am apparently remiss in being aware of everyone, and of checking out your own work in return.

So - if you blog on any platform, and believe that I may NOT be following you, please drop me a note so I may correct such.

Thank you.

One last twist?

I honestly must admit to being surprised that there wasn't a last-minute Presidential pardon issued for Hillary Clinton, in the tradition of Ford for Nixon, just to try and clean that slate before moving on.

But - given the very open secret in D.C. circles that the Clintons and the Obamas do not like each other one bit, I'm wondering if this was a last, little bit of vindictiveness on the way out the door?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Wheel Turns

So.... we're in 2017. (Yes, that statement is a few days late, bear with me).

As some of my posts obviously showed, 2016 wasn't exactly a banner year for my household.

An unexpected career loss. With the subsequent financial stresses, and the fun of re-discovering how much fun job searching never is, particularly when one is older or trying to stay in a specialized field, or both.

An untimely death, and the subsequent ripples still affecting the extended family.

My daughter's own health issues becoming a bit more serious for her, and the attempts to help her learn what to do to help deal with things, and hopefully find new routes towards improvement.

Plus, the myriad other things which seemed to happen, in retrospect a part of life, but often being a "Ugh, what now?" moment.

And, a few lessons became apparent in all of this. Some I had known, at least subconsciously, others were new.

- Life is life, and it occurs. Often despite your plans. Be ready.
- Some of the people you thought were your friends disappear quickly once you can't do anything for them anymore.
- Some people you never realized will step up and be there for you when you need it most.
- Have a plan, or at least an idea. Because, if it all changes tomorrow, you may be making it up as you go.
- You can tighten your belt and drive on through a lot.
- Kids are way smarter, way more aware, and way more understanding than we give them credit for, even in tough times.
- Family matters.
- Take a second and reach out to people, even if just to say hi. It matters more than you know.
- Lean on yourself, and lean on faith, at the same time. Because you need both.
- Even when you're having it rough, you can always find ways to be generous and help others. Both for the decency of it, and the perspective.
- Sometimes a clean break is rough, but the best thing.
- Even if it's rough being stuck at home, having the increased time to be with your family is completely worth it.
- (For the dads) If you ever can, take a year and be the primary "house" person - cooking, shopping, cleaning, errands, sick kids, kid appointments, school functions, what-if's and the like. You'll learn something from it.
- Some days, just getting up and making it through is a victory.

But, this is a post about more than that - because, the wheel does turn, time does march on, and things change.

After a prolonged search, screening, interviews, paperwork and all the other fun, I am finally on the cusp of gainful employment again, starting in the next couple of weeks. Truth be told, it's a significant step forward in salary and potential for my and my family's future. Even more pleasing (to me) is that it's a position which allows me to continue to use the skills and specializations I've developed, and to at least somewhat contribute to the safety of our nation and our communities, even if I'm not "operational" anymore. Which matters to me...

Due to the fact it will be a Federal Government position, it may change some of my (infrequent) posting discussions - or, it may not. I have a feeling I certainly won't have a shortage of "someone did this dumb" moments to share at the very least. And, with a lengthy commute involved, as well as some other elements, we're going to be making adjustments around the house to accomodate the changes.

Which, is where I'll close with some other introspective thoughts, based on a couple of conversations I've had recently, and the realizations from them.

You see, I'm smart enough to know how lucky I am to be moving into this opportunity. As I've learned (and others as well), job-hunting once you're out of your 20's gets harder and harder, particularly when you mix in increased salary expectations versus how much the business is willing to invest in an old product versus a newer one. And, when the majority of your job background is in a rather specialized field, that can make it more challenging. Not that I didn't have other options, or other talents - but, my hope was to keep doing something based on the counter-terrorism and bomb disposal field, as I do have a passion for it. With the economy, the transition in political power affecting the nation as a whole, and a wealth of other issues it was tough.

I also considered the numerous little "chances" which led me to this point. Those times my life, or my career, or some other element, minor at the time, all helped build to this opportunity. The absence of which would have completely removed the possibility.

But, there were some things I realize helped me have this opportunity. Maybe this part can be a little mental primer for myself, or others, on things to recall career-wise.

- Invest in yourself. Take the opportunity. Be it a training class, something you develop a side interest in, or someone else saying "We'd like you to try this." While there are elements of it that in retrospect I could have done much better, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the fact I have a broad skill set backing up my narrow specialities was a game changer. For more on this, Scott Adams has written some excellent discussions on skills multiplying your ability, rather than merely adding in a stack.

- Network. Even if you don't call it that. The more people who know your abilities, and can vouch for you, the better.

- Perservere. Whether it's in the daily job, or the job search, it's a marathon not a sprint.

- You don't know it all. You're not irreplaceable. But, you can make yourself an asset even so.

- Even if you're happy, mid-career, and not going anywhere, keep a current resume. Not only for the unexpected, but it also helps you sell yourself if you need to.

- Don't lie, don't exaggerate, but don't be afraid to be proud of your skills and history. Own your successes.

Here's to the next step in the journey...