Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Fighting Leprechaun Loved This Lecture!

The link shown below will take you to the first part of an excellent lecture about Ireland's history of conflict, delivered as part of the University of Washington Alumni Association's 2012 Lecture Series. I learned a lot, and enjoyed the debunking of a lot of myths about the Emerald Isle. I'm sure you will enjoy it as well!


Friday, May 18, 2012

"Fun" at the NATO Summit...

I have the privilege of serving at the NATO Summit in Chicago this month. From my perspective as a Seattle WTO participant, this version seems significantly more complex. I've learned a lot of new things, and have been able to apply a lot of what I know from working in my civilian jobs.

While I can't go into detail, for obvious reasons, it's definitely an adventure worth having! (That applies as long as everything doesn't go seriously sideways.) If nothing else, I've had an opportunity to visit all of the international airline lounges, plus the super-exclusive World First Class Lounge of a domestic airline...very luxurious! (It's likely the only opportunity I'll ever have to get past the heavily-guarded front desk without getting the bum's rush!)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Continuing the Gaelic Theme: "Drumline; The Irish Version"

It takes talent, coordination, and rhythm to play the bodhran...which is why I haven't taken it up, but the Gothard Sisters more than make up for that. This is awesome!

"The Gael": Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

What can I say...I'm in that kind of mood this evening...and this is some stirring pipe music!

I'm Getting Ready...

...to experience some serious WTO flashbacks. You'll get the full story in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Still Amazed...

Loyal readers of this blog know of my frequent rants because that the U.S. Army's approach to computer use falls just short of Luddite standards. A wise friend often comments that if the network security people had their way, they would ensure a perfectly secure system which nobody would have access to. The Army has come close to implementing that ridiculous standard.

I have tried to renew my USAR computer credentials on numerous occasions. In order to do so, I have to complete the annual "Information Assurance" training, and pass an online exam. I've tried to do this during my monthly drills, but naturally, without a valid account, I can take the class, but not the exam. I was told that it was not possible to login to the class website from a non-Army computer. Well, I decided to give that method a try as a last resort. Whaddya know, it worked. I completed and passed the test. I then followed the instructions to request an updated account, but was stymied there. I went back to my unit, and was able to submit an application for an account by using a computer already logged on to the system. The application has to go to my unit's parent major command for approval. One week later, no approval. So once again, I ended up going home to do my required travel documents on my own laptop, then returning to the unit to have them signed. Fortunately I live only 20 minutes away from my unit, but the same thing was occurring for almost everyone else, including folks who live an hour or so away. In the meantime, there are five new computers sitting unused in my unit cubicles, because nobody has network priviliges.

Two percent awesome.

Monday, May 7, 2012

When the cops subpoena your Facebook information, here's what Facebook sends the cops - Phlog

This is an interesting article, especially for those of us who deleted our Facebook accounts for reasons of privacy and security. I've subpoenaed Facebook records before in conjunction with a Criminal Impersonation investigation, and it is amazing how much information is stored in FB's servers. Naturally, I'm glad that the bad guys (and girls) are prone to disclosing so much personal detail on a social networking website...it makes tracking 'em down so much easier!

When the cops subpoena your Facebook information, here's what Facebook sends the cops - Phlog

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In Search Of the Perfect Golf Ball...

Now that I'm playing golf on a more frequent basis, I have been auditioning different types of golf balls to complement my style and ability. ("Style" and "Ability" are hopeful euphemisms for "Duffing" and "Hacking".)
Like most golfers who own a high handicap (mine's a 30, but I'm determined to get it in the teens by the end of summer), I ignore the ads shown on TV during the PGA tour events, featuring the pros touting their brand of golf ball. I mean, seriously, why would I spend fifty bucks for a dozen balls just in case I really need that extra 5 degrees of backspin? I've never been able to cause a ball to do that anyway, even by accident. Fifteen extra yards? Not likely, unless I land on the paved cartpath.
Here is MY criteria for choosing a golf ball:

  1. Is it a really bright color, so I can find it in the woods/hillside/rough within the USGA's allotted 5 minutes? (If they ever make a golf ball equipped with a bright, pulsing strobe light, well, that'd be worth shelling out $50 per dozen!)
  2. Can I get away with slipping a box into the shopping cart at Fred Meyer, without causing my Spousal Unit to give me her famous, "Guess I'll have to put back all of the luxury items, like the fish, chicken, and pork chops, so that we can afford those essential GOLF BALLS!" look?
  3. Will sailing one or two balls into a water hazard cause me to recalculate the annual golfing budget, and eliminate three or four rounds?
  4. Does the package, or even more importantly, the ball, sport a really stupid name, or a Sponge-Bob Squarepants logo?  I saw a carton of 36 bright yellow balls on sale the other day...(Why, yes, it WAS at WalMart...what's your point?)...for ten bucks. Score, right? Nope, because as erratically as I play the game, having some other golfer call out to me, "Are you playing the yellow SpongeBob Squarepants?" would cause me to slink off the course mid-round.
  5. Did I mention that it has to be a super bright, "find it in any terrain, burn out your optic nerve if you stare at it too long" color?
I will gladly consider any and all recommendations, as long as they fall within the outlined parameters. Thanks in advance for your assistance!

There's Always One Guy...

...who can be seen in all the disaster movies, frantically rearranging the deck chairs, patio furniture, or place settings on the dining table. Regardless of the impending threat, whether it's an iceberg, conflagration, volcanic eruption, or tsunami, there is always THAT ONE GUY.  I always used to wonder why the screenwriter and director insisted upon including that guy. Comic relief, perhaps? Well, I've got news for those screenwriters and directors...it's not that funny in real life.
In this photograph of the RMS Titanic, you can almost hear that one guy saying, "Okay, if we hit an iceberg, I'm gonna move ALL of these deck chairs to the railing. That'll no doubt save the ship!"