Assense

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Hockey Stick vs. Ice Core Data

Global Warming...man-made climate change....so spooky until you look at the data from a different perspective.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Moron Brothers

I thought I had the good life....these boy's got me beat!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Please keep my Mother in your Prayers...

Momma & "Little Sister" Aunt Betty Last Thanksgiving
Very early this morning, my Mother got up out of bed and fell, breaking her left hip. We are currently awaiting surgery. She is resting fitfully for the moment, but we expect to see a few a months painful rehabilition in store for her. Hopefully she'll be able to dance at her 90th birthday coming this next February. I'll be sure to keep posting the news as it develops.
Thanks for your prayers for Lucille Hawkins.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

4 Ham Operators killed in deadly crash

Four Radio Amateurs Killed in Plane Crash While En Route to CQWW Phone Contest -via www.arrl.org

Just after take-off -- around 6:30 AM on Thursday, October 21 -- a twin-engine plane carrying four Amateur Radio operators crashed into the woods, only 250 yards off the end of the runway in Jedburg, South Carolina, about 20 miles northwest of Charleston. The plane -- piloted and owned by Peter Radding, W2GJ -- carried Ed Steeble, K3IXD, Dallas Carter, W3PP, and Randy Hargenrader, K4QO. The four men were on their way to the Bahamas to operate in this weekend's CQ World Wide Phone Contest as C6APR, competing in the Multi/2 category.
Radding, of North Charleston, South Carolina, was 69; Steeble, of Summerville, South Carolina was 68; Carter, of Laurel, Delaware, was 67 and Hargenrader, also of Summerville, was 55. All were ARRL members; Radding and Steeble were Life Members.
According to Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet, the four hams had made this trip before with Radding piloting the plane. Nisbet said Radding had flown to Delaware to pick up Carter earlier in the week.
"How quickly can a joyous event -- setting off with close friends in anticipation of a weekend of intense radio activity -- turn to unfathomable tragedy," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. "As we mourn the loss of these four well-known members of our global Amateur Radio community, our hearts go out to their families."
Dorchester County Administrator Jason Ward characterized the crash site 250 yards east of the runway as "extremely severe" and that the plane was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived; investigators were hindered by the flaming wreckage and "charred foliage" at the scene A crew from the county public works department had to create a path to the wreckage. Chief Deputy Sheriff Sam Richardson said there was damage to treetops in the area of the crash. The coroner said it appears the severity of the crash, and not the fire, is what killed the men.
One of the victims was found beneath some of the wreckage, Ward said. Debris was spread around an area several yards wide at the crash site, and the wrecked plane was apparently upside down, he said.
It was extremely dark when the plane took off, Ward said. Airport Manager Don Hay said the weather was clear at the time. "[Radding] was a very experienced pilot who knew the area," Ward said. "He had been flying for over 40 years." Nisbet said Radding filed a flight plan detailing his route and who was on board, but the plane never climbed high enough for those plans to be activated.
Radding's neighbor, Jim Deaton, said the man and others planned to stop in Florida, pick up more passengers and then head to the Bahamas.
Stella Bazzle, who lives about a half-mile from the airport, described to The Summerville Journal Scene what she heard right before the plane went down: "The motor sounded like it was coming over the house. I heard the first explosion...then the second (explosion) wasn't as loud." She described the engine noise as "kind of a funny noise, like a grinding type thing." Bazzle said she then heard ambulances and called her neighbor, who'd heard similar noises.
Carter, Steeble and Radding were members of the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC); Carter and Radding were also members of the Frankford Radio Club (FRC). PVRC President Ken Claerbout, K4ZW, told the ARRL that he was "stunned and saddened" when he heard the news of the crash: "I had several e-mail exchanges with Dallas over the last two weeks about our Sweepstakes effort. He spoke with excitement of the group's trip to C6 for CQWW SSB and vowed to be on for Sweepstakes CW. He said he might have to work during Sweepstakes SSB, but if not, he would be there! Dallas joined PVRC in 1963. Ed was also a very active member of PVRC before moving to South Carolina. Ed joined PVRC in 1992 and is a past chairman of our Northwest Chapter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of all four gentlemen. Another stark reminder of how fickle life can be." -- Thanks to the many friends of these four hams, the Associated Press and The Summerville Journal Scene for the information.



-Map and Aircraft info courtesy of Charleston SC newspaper, The Post & Courier

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What does Acorn do with it;s money?

We all know that the Community Organization known as Acorn has been in the news lately, ever since videos showed some of it's personnel rendering aid & advice to two characters posing as a Pimp & Prostitute. It really gave the grass-roots community aid organization some very bad publicity.

Whether the videos were a set-up or not, the appearance of such activity sure paints a poor portrait of an organization which had been slated to receive billions in tax dollars.

Now that some of it's funding has been held up, surely the organization has to be curtailing some of the fine community work it is doing... but the real question is... just how much community aid the organization accomplishes with all the millions it has received over the years?

Tom Blumer at NewsBusters.org asks that question...and has some answers which will surprise you, and just maybe, put things in a proper perspective.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Steve Senes... the name I said you'll hear again...

I'm as proud as a puppy with two peters over my friend Steve Senes knocking it out of the park, and taking the title of Guitar Player Magizine's Guitar Superstar 2009!

I just watched the video of the final judging of this years ten guitarists that made it to the finals. Steve stole the show and brought the house to it's feet with an amazing performace. When the last note echoed away it was no contest that Steve was well worthy of the crown. Way to go Steve!

Just see for yourself...

Myrtle Beach's Premier Music & Entertainment Newspaper, The Weekly SURGE, has a good write-up of Steve's win. Plus, they give a good plug for my favorite Southern Country Rock Band that Steve plays with, Superswamp Heroes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9 / 11 / 2001

To remember the events of eight years ago, the following video clips are offered to bring fresh memories. While its fine to devote special services, and invoke special ceremonies in rememberence, it's often best to just review the actual events & reflect on it's impact on society.

"aaroman01" on youtube has compiled a very comprehensive collection of newsclips that portray without embellishment the events of 9-11.

Before it happened, life was normal...

Then the Initial Reports...

South Tower Attack...

South Tower Collapse...


Simply Remember Always.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion

It’s a tough ‘ol world everywhere, and here is no exception. In the continual struggle to keep the wolves at bay I’ve taken up a second calling, Product Spokesperson.

I’m touting the merits of a real bargain on ebay.

With this...

...makes you wanna buy one right now don't it?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Zac Brown Band "Fox On The Run" Live!

I like things simple, and Zack Brown Band simply knows how to do a song good. This would be my favored way to travel if I had a Band Bus.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

PAY ATTENTION...

I got to post this... probably one of the most perfect examples of how a breakdown in communication can lead to serious consequences... I guess the moral of the story is if you're in a relationship, always remember to PAY ATTENTION.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Steve Senes...remember the name...you'll hear it again.


Here's my friend Steve Senes, with a song from his homemade album. Steve plays all the instruments on his album, and plays them like no one else can. He truly is a fantastic musician.

You will no doubt hear of Steve again real soon. You see, Guitar Player Magazine has picked Steve to be a finalist to compete for it's "Guitar Superstar of 2009", a annual contest they hold that draws from hundreds of entries to decide the best guitar player of the year. Steve will soon fly to San Francisco to perform against 9 other guitarists to determine who is the best of the best. To be picked to compete as a finalist is a fantastic honor in itself, but to win it, who knows what fame & fortune it may bring.

Listen to this video n' you know why I THINK IT'S NO CONTEST.

Anyone who deserves such a honor is Steve, who is one of the nicest guys I ever had the pleasure of pickin' with, and especially coming to know him as a good friend. It will be a wonderful thing to say "I knew Steve back when..."

Good luck Steve, ...go show 'em how it's done...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Les Paul 1915 - 2009

As a Toddler, my earliest memories involve listening to music by Les Paul, who along with Chet Atkins, were my Dad's favorite guitarists. I would play all the records he had collected of Les & Chet, and were just as amazed at their talent. It was through the music on those records I came to love playing the guitar.

When I took up playing the guitar as a kid, I always wanted to own a Gibson Les Paul Guitar. I came close a couple of times, got to play one or two occasionally and revel in it's signature clean, clear sound.

But the most vivid memory I have of Les Paul was watching him in person demostrating his "Les Pulverizer" and wanting one that minute. I've always wondered why it never became publicly available, I'd still buy one today.



Chet Atkins, and now Les Paul...both gone now. But both still with us in what they left behind for us all to enjoy.

I can't help but post this video of them both, playing one of my Dad's favorites...San Antonio Rose



I know that we would live in a lesser world if we never had these two giants with their genius. But now with Les Paul's passing, I know that Chet & Les is now tearing it up, my father has a front row seat, and Heaven is ROCKIN'!

Via Con Dio's Les, and thank you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You can catch SSTV images from the ISS

A message sent by Marc, PD4U in Holland came this news tidbit... The Russians have started their MA-75 experiment again, and thus SSTV pictures can be received from the International Space Station in Robot36 on 145.800 MHz FM

Check out Marc's webpage for more info and some great photos taken from the International Space Station. SSTV Slow Scan Television is a early method of sending images via radio. Ham Operators use free software like MMSSTV to send and receive images. If you haven't tried it or seen it in action, by all means give it a try, especially if you can catch a SSTV QSL photo from NA1SS on the ISS.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Remains of missing Gulf War pilot found

As a fellow Gulf War Veteran, I wish to offer my condolences to those who can now have closure to a tragic loss, and salute a fellow warrior who has finally made it home.

RIP: Capt. Michael Scott Speicher USN
Capt. Michael Scott Speicher went missing the first night of Operation Desert Storm, when his F/A-18 went down in Iraq. The Navy announced August 2 that his remains had been located by Marines in Iraq's Anbar province.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pssst...I'm gonna let you in on a little secret...




Actualy I'm gonna let the good folks at Cracked.com let you in on just how gullible we all are about some of the stuff we buy...

"7 High Tech Products And Their Cheap Ass Ingredients"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

20 Meters may have been weak but our contacts were STRONG


Despite marginal conditions on 20 Meters, tonights second edition of the American Preppers Radio Net was a complete success.

The Net had at total of 8 check-ins, from Connecticut to Texas, from Florida to Ohio, and points in between.

Here's the contacts of the 2nd. American Preppers Network Radio Net:
KI4HEE Bob SC Net Control
N1FBF Bob CT
N5JXM Bill TX
KE5VOX Rene TX
KG4RSF Mark FL
KD8JPQ Jeff OH
K4DMH Dave WVA
K1DEC Don MA

This is the second net done on 20 meters to date. It is expected that the net will be conducted on another band next week, which one, as yet undetermined. Check back to this blog in the coming days for an announcement as to what band the net will be held. It is being considered that the net schedule may be expanded to include different bands, different days, and different times to accomodate all involved.

We indeed like to welcome all who participated in tonights net, it wouldn't have been possible without you.

Also of note, the American Preppers Radio Net Blog was established today. The APRN Blog will be the central point of information for the Radio Net, providing additional net information, contact reports, as well as topics covering a wide variety of issues regarding conmmunications. Be sure to join the activities on The American Preppers Radio Net Blog.

Any comments or suggestions are indeed welcome, as time goes on, look for this net to become a intergal part of your American Prepper experience.

'73 Bob KI4HEE

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The second hobby took presidence today.


Too much of a good thing isn't good, or so they say. Whether the old saying is true or not, it's the reasoning I took this morning when I reached for a Fishing pole instead of a microphone. Today was better spent casting a spinning reel with Bass jumping nearby, than to huddle inside with a hissing radio, despite the allure of air conditioned comfort.

Long before I ever took up Ham Radio, I had always enjoyed the chance to go fishing. It's in my DNA. Some of my earliest memories include fishing. Our family enjoyed camping and fishing and there was always a brother, sister, mom or dad around who didn't mind taking baby Rob along to fish. Well, maybe they did mind...but heck with them, I was ready to go!

One of the primary reasons I took the plunge and bought a home here in Conway SC, wasn't necessarily due to any intrinsic value in the house itself, but rather in the fresh water pond making up half of it's backyard. If I'd had to, I'd live in a cardboard box... as long as I'd get a chance to wet a hook. Especially in my own backyard. And while the need may never come, there is a valuable food-source just steps from my back door.

I give my father credit in instilling me the motivation to acquire property with easy access to a fishing-hole. When he retired from construction work, he settled down and bought a small farm in Mississippi, one with two small ponds, one for Bluegill & Bass, the other for Catfish. The catfish pond was a cash-crop for him, harvesting fore-arm long Blue Catfish that tasted wonderful. But more than the food-source, the ponds gave him a place to de-pressurize from day to day life. He spent as much time as he could, between his many chores and projects, chasing fish he considered more pets than prey. Those who do not fish, will not get it, but even without catching a single fish, the time spent fishing is a peace seldom ever found, and it was there I often spent time home on leave from the Air Force, again, fishing. It was a true treat to get up, get dressed, walk down the field out back, and start fishing. A poor-mans Paradise. If ever I settled down and bought a place, fishing would somehow figure in.

So standing along the bank today, down back behind my house...with pole in hand, crankin' my bait enticingly, I was happy...thinking about my father.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday July 18, 2009 Contact Plots on 17 & 20 Meters

I started my day in the shack working 17 meters,a band I'd literally forgot.

It's strange how you get in a habit of working some bands but neglect others, only to realize late how much you've missed. This was the case for me today. 17 Meters was clear and quiet but with very clean, strong signals from all around the compass. This was a very pleasant day in the shack with very good qso's. I'm definitely wont forget to work 17 meters again.
After 17 had quieted down, and I had gone up to the house to make Momma supper, I switched over to 20 Meters at about dusk, just in time to catch some good propagation into Northern Europe.

Conditions made it good to get contacts with Scotland, Norway(My First!), Northern Ireland, Spain & Portugal. 56 to 58 Signal reports were returned, Robbie in Northern Ireland was Q5 here using only 50 watts into a SteppIR 3 element yagi.

Afterward, I realized I had been transmitting all this time on 20, with only 20 Watts...I had forgotten to turn it up after tuning up! I guess I might of busted some pile-ups if I had been working with 100 watts. Grrrrr...'73 KI4HEE

Friday, July 17, 2009

American Preppers Network Net # 1

The first-ever Ham Radio Net of the American Preppers Network was conducted on the 20 Meter Band on 14.228 Mhz. at 9 PM EST. tonight.

With David W4DMH in West Virginia serving as Net Control, and myself, Bob KI4HEE his able assistant, a total of 10 ham operators checked into the net, eight of whom learned about the American Preppers Network and it's Blog for the first time.

I wish to recognise the following stations as the first check-in's of the first net.

1. W4DMH David West Virgina
2. KI4HEE Bob South Carolina
3. W8BNL Tom Michigan
4. KE5SLV Phil Arkansas
5. N2SEQ Joe New York
6. KD8KFQ John West Virgina
7. N8TAH Kevin Ohio
8. K8DRP Daniel Michigan
9. W5RAW Ray Texas
10. W4VDW Kevin Ohio

TOTALS: 10 check ins 1 traffic

Congratulations to everyone who checked in and made this net possible. Look for more news here about where & when there'll be another American Preppers Network on the air.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bandits caught red-handed in my backyard!

The morning started typically with Buddy, my faithful watchdog and part-time footwarmer waking up first, stretching, and standing up at the foot of the bed to gaze out the window. His sudden and continuous growl made me look to see what he had spotted.

There they were! Bandits! Caught in the act, eating my figs!

The bush was loaded with figs, just ripening up, and a Momma Raccoon with her three kits were helping themselves!

Faster than you can say, "GO GIT'EM BOY!" I swung out of bed, fumbled into some clothes and hunted for my shoes...Buddy patiently waited while I gathered myself together.

Without opposable thumbs, he's still unable to figure out how to turn a doorknob...that's my job. But eventually, I got the door opened, and out he went like a flash, barking to beat the band.

Momma Raccoon, the ring-tailed ringleader, was already out of there at first sign that the jig was up, I caught a glimpse of her with one of her kits, ducking down into the undergrowth of the Waccamaw River swamp on the edge of the yard, with Buddy in hot pursuit. To my surprise, when Buddy dove into the underbrush, a second kit sprinted towards the same brush right behind him.

For a moment, there was just sounds of underbrush getting trampled but eventually Buddy emerged, with a look of satisfaction, he fended off marauder's from his domain, unaware that a third kit was still up in the fig bush, wisely staying above the fray.

Back in the house, I grabbed a colander, and went back to pick some figs for myself. By then the kit was long gone, escaping to the woods to join Momma Raccoon and his siblings.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

07/14/09 10 Meters was "Timely"



Great conditions on ten meters made me spend quality QSO time on a band I don't often visit. But since the start of summer, some magical openings have happened on ten meters, and tonight was no exception.

Tonight's Contact Plot shows you can just about set your watch by Ham Radio. Virtually every station lies along a straight line, practically a dead match of Earths greyline.

Tonight's contacts run a beeline from New Hampshire, all the way to Oklahoma, all made between 8:30PM & 10:30PM EST. Every one had 10 over S-9 signals, and at the same time, New Hampshire & Oklahoma were sounding equally loud, with very little fading up until around 1:30 UTC.

Being inside that time frame, and along that straight arrow track, you can just about visualize the greyline of sunset marching across the globe from east to west. And with Google Earth, you can see how similar tonight's plot, and the actual greyline actually is.

It was fun. And I really was surprised to have "armchair" copy QSO's from stations running as low as 25 watts. I don't think anyone was working with more than 100 watts, and my little 100 Watt "peanut whistle" Yeasu 857-D was doing great.

My regards to everyone in the contact plot, to me, it truly was a awesome night of 10 Meter Ham Radio.

Monday, July 13, 2009

07/13/09 40 Meter QSO's



Despite the snap crackle pop of atmospherics due to the rainstorms across the region, I gathered quite a number of good contacts from the deep south into the central midwest. Checked into the North American Traffic & Awards Net on 7.195 and logged several stations including good signals in Texas, Indiana & Oklahoma.

Early this morning I made my first 40 meter contacts in AM mode. All in all, a very good day with Ham Radio. 73 KI4HEE

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Contact Log for Sunday, July 12 2009



I'm going to try to post the results of my contacts on Ham Radio on a continual basis now that I have Google Earth able to plot the stations I work. It's a good way to depict the scope of coverage that is on Ham Radio.

Tonight's activity was all on 40 Meters, there was one DX contact: Martin OE3WMA in Austria was 57 copy into South Carolina & he received me 57 as well.

The Catch of the Day...

Right in the middle of my work in the backyard, something seemed to compel me to stop what I was doing, grab my fishpole, walk down to the pond, and cast out a line. On the second cast came this...

I've been catching a couple of "big'uns" each weekend since spring, but this ol'lady Bass is sure the leader of the pack.

She had made lunchmeat of the rubber lizard lure and danced twice out of the water trying to spit the hook out, it was a real thrill.

A couple of snapshots with the cellphone camera n' back in the water she went. I cast a couple of more times but figured I had caught my limit for the day n' went back to the yard-work.

The moment of fishing-zen was over...

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's confirmed...I'm a computer junkie...

Time for some truthful self-admittance...I'm experiencing some serious "jones" while my precious HP Touchsmart Notebook is in the Geek Squad shop getting a new keyboard.

Note to self...I'll never try to catch a notebook as it slides off it's precarious spot on a chair onto the floor, with a glass of iced tea in my hand ever again.

Some thoughts on all this...

I've scoffed at buying extended warranties... but in this case, it was the smartest thing I've done in a while in buying the Geek Squad "black tie" protection plan when I bought my notebook. It was money WELL spent.

How do I know I'm hooked? ...I'm posting this using a 10 yr old laptop that's slower than frozen snot, taking up the whole friggin' day to load a page...n' I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread...but I'm getting by...barely.

6 YEAR UPDATE: Jan. 2, 2015
Life hasn't changed, except the jones now is Apple Products, as in all things Apple. It's seamless, & fun!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'll be signing autographs in the lobby after the matinee...

The Myrtle Beach Herald ran a good article covering this years field day...somehow, the "face that's made for radio" got in the article.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Local Hams to participate in National Ham Radio Emergency Test June 27-28

(Myrtle Beach, SC 24 June 2009) – Whenever there is a disaster, reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications in emergencies world-wide is common. On the weekend of June 27-28th., local ham radio operators will be operating under simulated emergency field conditions outside the Horry County American Red Cross Center on the old Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, to exercise their emergency communication skills.

Thousands of Ham Radio operators will be showing off their emergency capabilities nationwide during the two day event.

With a long history of providing critical communications after a disaster, Amateur Radio – often called “Ham Radio” - is often the ONLY way remaining by which people could communicate. When trouble is brewing, ham radio people are often the first to provide critical information and communications.

On the weekend of June 27-28, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about. Showcasing the newest digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications and even historic Morse code, hams from across the USA will be holding public demonstrations of their emergency communications abilities.

This annual event, called "Field Day" is the climax of week long "Amateur Radio Week" sponsored by the ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and back yards around the country. Their slogan, "When all else fails…”is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised.

Local Field Day activities will be conducted by members of the Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club outside the Horry County American Red Cross Center, 2795 Pampas Dr. Myrtle Beach, SC. The Public is invited.



Photo Caption: Local Ham Radio Operators practice Emergency Communication Field Conditions at a Ham Radio Field Day. This years event will be held Saturday & Sunday June 27th. & 28th. at the Horry County American Red Cross Building, on the old Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Photo Credit: Robert Hawkins

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Speech recognition


I discovered a new feature that came with my notebook, speech recognition. Right now I'm dictating this article by talking into a microphone and watching the text show up on the screen. It's an easy way to be able to dictate without typing. According to the documentation, the more you use it, the more it learns your speech patterns.

The tutorial sets up the audio levels, and teaches you the basic commands. I'm enjoying this feature, since while I like to write, I'm a hunt-and-peck typist.
Not only can you dictate, you also do commands, access the operating system, navigate through programs, and fill out forms. You can surf the Internet without touching a key or moving the mouse.

By the way, my new notebook is the Hewett Packard TX-2 with TouchSmart technology. The touchscreen capability is amazing, and along with speech recognition, it'll allow me to do things I never thought possible. All the things I would normally do with a keyboard and a mouse, I can do now, with speech commands, and touching the screen.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sweet Victory...

So it finally happened... I've hit 50 and I've encountered my first realization of mortality... I got really, REALLY sick last January.

No beating around the bush... I have Type 2 Diabetes.

Probably for the rest of my life, I'll be injecting insulin, taking pills, and working on a sensible diet and exercise plan. Thank God I'm doing great now, but back in January, things weren't too good for the kid...

Ever since getting out of the Air Force back in '92, I had gained weight...too much weight. The result of bad habits, no exercise, long hours at a sit-down job, no sex, (well...let's say not enough sex...), too much booze... the normal single-guy stuff...bopping through life with nobody around to nag me into doing better.

To the point I was tipping the scales at around 289 pounds!

BTW, did'ja know household scales don't go much higher than 325? I got scared when I saw the end of the scale in the window between my toes.

IT WAS JUST AROUND THE BEND!

But suddenly, I started losing weight! My clothes were fitting better...people were saying I looked thinner, I thought I was onto some new wonder-diet that peeled off the pounds.

Just drink a lot of water, and piss the pounds away.

Well, at around 238 pounds, (that's 50 pounds lower, sportfans), I was lookin' good, but wasn't feelin' good. I was woozy, sleepy, my vision was blurry, my legs were cramping, n' I was ALWAYS wanting to get a drink of water.... till one day I woke up sicker than a dog with stomach cramps & fever.

A stomach flu ran through me like a freight train! I was feeling like I'd been run over n left for dead, weak as a kitten, and couldn't keep any food down. One week of laying in bed, and I was almost too weak to walk.

I was now down to 218 pounds. Looking in the mirror, my skin was grey and my eyes were sunken, with dark rings. It wasn't death, but I swear I could see it from there.

I was way too sick. Luckily, I was able to get into a VA clinic where the Doctor immediately prescribed insulin and metformin to reign in a sky-high sugar count, and other stuff to reign in my cholesterol which was also WAY off the scale.

So it started...my life as a diabetic. My blood lab results at the time had my sugar level pegged at 350ml! My a1c was 14!

The cholesterol was...well, let's say you could of used my blood for pancake syrup.

My "wonder-diet" was actually my body devouring itself, since it couldn't metabolize the sugar in my bloodstream any longer. According to the Doc, my pancreas had ceased production of insulin. Although I had plenty of sugar running thru my veins, it could no longer be used as food. My body was starving!

The Doc said if things went on much longer, it'll be coma, then the long dirt nap for me...

Gee! Don't sugar-coat it Doc...tell it to me straight!

But I guess it was what it took to give me motivation. So now I'm walking the Dog to the mailbox and back...walking down to the pond and back each evening, walking around the block after lunch at work.

Ummm...notice the trend here?

Un-sweet tea or water is the drink of choice, my meals are no more than 30-35 grams of carbs, SMALL PORTIONS! No longer is it 3 squares a day...I eat 6 times a day, especially RIGHT before bed. (Yeah! I freaked when the dietician told me to do this but, by God, IT WORKS!)

Now I religiously test my blood n' take my meds...diabetes is often called the data disease...you got to test, test, test, to keep things under control.

I've come to realize that my body now harbors a enemy that wants to KILL me, and kill me painfully, horribly, if given a chance. To fight it, I MUST know more about it. Education is the key.

So here's the good news...I just came back from the Doctor today, after 90 days, my current blood lab shows that my blood sugar is down from 350 to 137ml, my a1c was down from 14 in January, to 6.8!!! (YIPPIE!!!)

The cholesterol was still a bit high, but a WHOLE lot better than the maple syrup blood I had back in January. My weight's back up to 240, but that's to be expected using STATIN meds like metformin...it makes you gain weight. But I swear I'll beat that down this summer.

The big difference is that the thurst, the drowsiness, the fuzzy vision, the bathroom stops are all but gone. My sugar is getting under control.

If anyone who reads all this and has got this far, I beg you, if any of what I've described is similar to what you or someone you know is experiencing, please get checked out. Don't wait, do it NOW. And if you have been told that you're "pre-diabetic"...for God sakes DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

So life for me is getting back on track. I've accepted the realization that if I'm not dilligent, I'll likely die of some diabetic driven affliction...stroke, heart attack, ect. I'm now forever in the fight of my life.

That's what it means to be all grown-up, I guess.

And I bet to really get back into perfect health, I gotta do something to correct that "no sex" thing...

Swine Flu Syntoms Described

In this video, Dr. Joe Bresee, with CDC's Influenza Division, describes the symptoms of swine flu and warning signs to look for that indicate the need for urgent medical attention.



For further informational video's check out the CDC's Youtube Page.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Myrtle Beach Wildfire Photo Slideshow

Edward Jordan, KF4ECK sent me some photos taken of the wildfire that swept thru the Carolina Bays and threatened the Grand Dunes section of Myrtle Beach...pretty dramatic stuff. I went and made a slide show and posted it on Youtube for all to see...(I'd say enjoy, but that's just not be right)



As of this writing, the wildfires have all been contained, 30 sq. miles of land has been scorched, 75 homes destroyed, no deaths, no major injuries. Estimate damages over $80 Million.

My thanks to Edward J. and SplashStudioPhotography.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Horry County Concerned about Swine Flu


Amid reports of a Newberry SC private school closing after students returning from a trip to Mexico, exhibited flu-like symptoms, Horry County Health Officials said today they are keeping a sharp look-out for any flu-symptom cases here locally.

With Myrtle Beach noted as a primary tourist destination, Horry County is particularly vulnerable for the illness to appear.

The Sun News, Mike Cherney filed this report.

Look for further developments about this potentially dangerous illness here on this blog, as well as on other informational blogs...such as The Swine Flu Pandemic.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Murrells Inlet Spring Tide Cleans Up


I just HAD to give this a "cute" headline, I had a blast today, and it was for a great cause. I'm talking about all the great work everyone put into this years SPRING TIDE, in beautiful Murrells Inlet South Carolina.
A annual event, Spring Tide has been held consecutively for 18 years now, all to clean up the area of litter & trash along the roadways, waterways & shoreline. This community event, held each 3rd Sunday of the month of April was this year blessed with favorable tides, eager participation, and, as always, beautiful weather.


The Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club was well represented today by Jim N4GSA, Tom K2PJ, and myself, KI4HEE. (I wish Tom was able to jump into the picture of me & Jim, but my thanks anyway Tom, for taking the photos.)


The great payoff in today's activities was three-fold, we got to provide Ham Radio support to the clean-up activities, it was an excellent excuse to get outdoors and enjoy wonderful weather & friendly folk in a beautiful location, and finally, we got to taste the BEST DAM CLAM CHOWDER in Murrells Inlet!

My spoon is raised to salute Lee's Inlet Kitchen Restaurant, this year's winner, along with all the 20+ area restaurants who competed.

I made a point to seek out Chip Smith, perennial organizer, and all-around great guy, and volunteer my services... I aim to be put on the short-list of judges, for next years cook-off.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Horry Co. SC Wildfire 7PM Friday Update

Here's the 7PM Update direct from the Horry County Emergency Operations Center. Many thanks to Lisa Bourcier, Horry County Public Information Oficer. The map at left shows the current hotspots as of 5PM Friday.

Wildfire Update:
Conway, South Carolina – In response to the wildfire, the Horry County Emergency Operations Center and the Joint Information Center remain fully activated. In addition, the Call Center (915-5150) remains fully manned for citizens with concerns and questions.

Updated information:
Approximately 20,000 acres have been consumed and the fire is 50% contained.
Two shelters remain open: the House of Blues (Barefoot Landing) and the Christ the Servant Lutheran Church (which is now on stand-by and may potentially close later this evening. The Church is located at 2105 Hwy. 501 in Conway.

Watertower Road, off of Hwy. 90, is closed, but open to residents.

Preliminary damage assessment for unincorporated county: total of 13 homes (5-totally destroyed, 1-major damage, and 7-minor damage). All homes were mobile homes, except one of the minor damaged homes was a stick built home. Total damage estimate of $174,200. All damage is reported in the Woodlawn Drive area, off of Hwy. 90.
No injuries and no fatalities reported.

Hwy. 90 from East Cox Ferry Road north to Tilly Swamp Church remains closed.

Hwy. 31 remains closed from Grissom Parkway to Hwy. 9.

Hwy. 22 remains closed from Hwy. 90 into Myrtle Beach .

Citizens are, once again, advised that the smoke in the fire area may continue to lie close to the ground from 8 p.m. through 11 a.m. this morning. Extreme caution should be exercised as there may be extremely low visibility. Roads may need to be closed due to this smoke cover.

Citizens with respiratory issues are advised to remain indoors.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Horry County SC Wildfire battle rages on...



The map at left depicts the area currently effected by wildfires that have scorched more than 19,000 acres, and have caused more than 2500 people to evacuate.

With no rain on the immediate forecast, fire officals are hesitant to speculate how soon the largest wildfire to hit the region in over 30 years may be put under control.

Myrtle Beach NBC TV Station WMBF has this report...



UPDATE: (11:00AM EST)
The Horry County Information Office has released this map showing current hotspots,(as of 2AM) The 10AM News Conference had officials stating that approx. 50% of the wildfire is contained, but with forecasts of winds increasing in the area conditions may still change for the worse.

Current damage estimates are at $8.2M; Fire 50 percent contained, but expected to strengthen and threaten Poplar community on S.C. 90.
Here's additional information from Myrtle Beach Local Newspaper, The Sun News...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Veggie of the week, THE TOMATO


Oh yes! The Rock Star of the veggie world! A favorite garden crop, tomatoes are this weeks featured veggie. Absolutely, the tomato is the number one planted crop in discerning backyard gardens everywhere. Looking through the garden center at your favorite big box store... except for ornamental shrubbery, tomato plants are the biggest cash crop to expand a Lowe's or Home Depot's profit margin. Easy to plant, cultivate, and ACCESSORIZE. Grab some wire trellis or Rapid-Grow tomato sticks while you choose between picking between Beefsteak or Bigger Boy varieties.

A member of the nightshade family of plants, tomatoes were subject to suspicion. Once called "Wolf Apples", it was once thought to be poisonous. And there's still debate in botanical circles as to whether it is a fruit or vegetable. All that aside, the tomato has become a delicious favorite at the dinner table with countless uses.

I'm featuring a geocities website... "How to grow tomatoes" since it's simple, stuffed with links, articles, and tons of tips & info.

For those who like video's, Melissa Allman tells it like it is with the best southern "Ax-sent"...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remember that Conficker C Worm? ...well guess what...



Remember the April Fool's day computer worm that was supposed to melt your hard drive or worse? That, by all accounts, became a Chicken Little exercise in media hysteria?

Well...according to the experts, it's alive, and it's on the move.

Or at least one expert...Yahoo's Christopher Null, "The Working Guy". He's reporting that the worm has finally began to show signs of life. Although what it's doing is still anybodys guess.

Here's his report...

The real propellerheads at Baylor University who work on fighting this stuff has posted a "Eye Chart" that will show you in a moment if your computer is infected. There's also a long explanation by Christopher Null as to what you are seeing when you view the page. If you feel a little "wormy" over this thing, feel free to check out Christopher Null's explanation first.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Streaming Internet Webcam Nabs 2 in Fla. Home Burglary

It's great when justice is served, and thanks to Internet technology, two Florida Burglars were on the receiving end.

As reported in The Smoking Gun:
APRIL 9--A Florida woman who used a live Internet video feed to monitor the interior of her home was shocked yesterday when she saw two men burglarizing her residence in real time. Jeanne Thomas, 43, was seated at her office desk when two strangers appeared in her living room (the intruders got into Thomas's Boynton Beach house through a doggie door at the rear of the home, according to the below probable cause affidavit). Thomas, who set up the live video stream after her home was burglarized last October, immediately called 911 to report the burglary.

Police arrested two men inside the residence along with two others who helped plan the break-in. Mugshots here...

The 911 call offers a chilling account of what happened.

A perfect example of due-diligence, installing a webcam, while being an added expense, has paid for itself for this Florida Homeowner.

Ed. Note: If you notice the time-lapse backyard webcam here on this blog, you can figure out that I'm a firm believer in Remote Video Security, It's not "Big Brother" when you do it to yourself & your property, it's common sense.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

SPRING TIDE ...A Time for the Inlet

The Beach is the image most visitors have of the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach SC., but a whole different perspective exists when you travel south along the South Carolina coast. Tidal Flats, marsh grass and countless inlets make up the coastal geography of Murrells Inlet SC., and on southward to Georgetown. There is a timeless beauty to the region, which contrasts greatly to the hustle & bustle of the huge vacation mecca of Myrtle Beach to the north. Here, you can still look over vistas of unspoiled beauty.

Despite the Inlet’s oasis of natures charm, steady advancing development in the area takes it’s toll each year. If not for the efforts of local volunteers who each spring comb the coast, collecting trash and debris, the inlet’s pristine nature would all but fade away. The Murrells Inlet Spring Tide arose out of the need to clean up the area after the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Since then, the 3rd. Sunday in April has been set aside each year to groom the area and actively give back to the land.

From the beginning, Ham Radio has played a part.

“From the very first year of Spring Tide, the members of the Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club have been essential to the cleanup, and dependable beyond belief...” says Chip Smith, a local community activist, & founder of Spring Tide. “The radio men have provided the monitoring and communications that keeps us aware of what’s happening where. And with the cleanup occurring all over the Inlet, and Garden City, we need to know how things are going... whether anybody is having trouble, or needs something special to get their job done. Really, without the radio men out and about and reporting back to headquarters, the whole thing could just wind up in chaos."

Come on out April 26th, when ham radio again answers the call of Spring. Come early and make a day of it.

WHEN: Sunday, April 26th. 8:30AM/9AM (Official Start)
WHERE: The Hot Fish Club 4911 Hwy 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC 843-357-9175
TALKIN & NET: 147.330Mhz. PL 85.4
EVENT INFO:Call 843-357-2007
Bring a HT, batteries, a jacket, comfortable shoes, and an appetite...after the clean-up THE BEST DAMN CLAM CHOWDER CHALLENGE is held. Free for participants. You can judge for yourself who makes the best chowder in the Inlet! Afterward stay for the party, the music, and auction.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How low can it go...welcome to the Deep Solar Minimum


Kinda like the economy, the solar cycle is at rock bottom, or is it? Just like weather forecasters, the propeller heads who predict what the sun is going to do can only track trends...any forecast is still just a "educated guess". One thing's for sure, no one has seen such a lack of sunspot activity in a long, long time.

A hat tip goes out to Michael W1MLK, for the heads-up... The good folks at NASA has the straight dope.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

About the Time-Lapse Camera...

I've been a long time believer of the "knot-hole" philosophy of life...such that given a knothole to peer through, there is a natural curiosity in one to look through it.

Construction Companies & Baseball Teams knew of this effect long ago. It's the reason the former will put knotholes in walls blocking view of construction projects, and the latter to plug up knotholes in walls around their 5-cent-a-ticket ballparks.

Well, thanks to modern technology I present this blogs "knot-hole". Go ahead...take a look, I'll wait...

Depending on the time of day, you'll see a decent looking view of my backyard or a bunch of sun-blasted glare. If it's bright and glaring, stick around, it'll change.

What ya see is what ya get, & until I come off the dime & get a better camera, just accept it for now.


It's also like Forrest Gump's Box of Chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.
(...with the exception of Squrrels eating all the seed in my bird feeder)

So, for your moment of Zen... go contemplate the "knot-hole".