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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Old Churches



I took this picture yesterday in Quihi, Texas.  These are two Lutheran churches in the middle of nowhere in South-Central Texas about 30 minutes West of San Antonio. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nijmegen Four-Day March, 1984(6)



Still in Nijmegen, this photo was of one of my best friends in the military.  We thought this was making a statement what with him being in the army.  I lost touch with him as with so many others I served with--remember, this was pre-internet days.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cute Kitty




I found this guy terrorizing the birds in my backyard yesterday.  He didn't seem to be scared of anything including me!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taiwan Friends2



Some more pictures of friends in front of a temple in Taipei.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Taiwan Friends



A picture of some of my colleagues in Taiwan right before I returned to the US.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Notre Dame Campus



Here I am standing in front of a monument on the Notre Dame campus in '87.  It's difficult to see but the Hesburgh Library is behind the monument.  I have better pictures of that building elsewhere on this blog.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Another Golden Dome Picture



Another picture taken from a lost roll of film.  This is of the Golden Dome/Administration building at Notre Dame in 1987 when I was a student there.  I can never get enough of this scene.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nijmegen Four-Day March, 1984 (5)



Another picture from Nijmegen.  My army buddy and I are posing with a soldier from the Italian military.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nijmegen Four-Day March, 1984 (4)



This is a great picture!  A little Dutch girl came out to offer us some of her bread as we were marching by.  They really appreciated what we represented--a symbol of the allied troops that liberated their country from the Nazis.

Monday, February 17, 2014

DNA Screenshot



Just thought I'd add this since I'm really getting into my genealogy.  Ancestry.com has a great DNA test that you can associate with others who have also submitted to it.  PS, click on the picture to get a better view.

Nijmegen Four-Day March, 1984 (3)



Here I am with some of my teammates in a pre-march poker game.  Had we known what we were in store for the next day, we might have tried to get more rest.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nijmegen Four-Day March, 1984 (2)



Prior to the march, teams from various countries had a chance to socialize with other teams.  I believe this group was from Sweden (with the exception of me in the background).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nijmegen Four-Day March, 1984



Last week, I found some Kodak disc negatives in an old box that I had forgotten about long ago.  I knew they were from the '80s but had no idea what type of pictures might be on them.  The first challenge was finding a photo shop that could scan them since this type of film went out of style in the late '80's.  Fortunately, I did find a shop but they warned me that doing this would be a bit expensive with no guarantee of the pictures' quality or even if they'd come out at all.  Well, I picked them up yesterday and the quality was relatively good.  The subject was also a pleasant surprise as these pictures were taken in 1984 in Nijmegen, Holland during the annual four-day march.  This event occurs in July of every year and both civilians and military teams participate.  As a matter of fact, my army team was chosen after six months of intensive training and being culled from an original group of about 150 to only 12 participants.  I never thought of myself as being in great physical shape but that wasn't what was needed for this event.  One only required mental endurance to finish the long marches in combat boots and uniform. 

This picture was taken as we were loading our gear onto vehicles that would transport it to our base camp where we would start every day's march.  More coming tomorrow!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Taiwan Again



A delicious snack after climbing Da-ken mountain near Taichung, Taiwan.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Photos On The Way

I was digging through an old box the other day and found some Kodak disc negatives from the '80s.  They were given to me by a friend and included pictures of our army team marching in the Netherlands.  I believe he gave these to me after he had had them developed but I never got around to developing them myself.  Anyway, it took me a few days but I finally found a photo shop that could scan them and make copies for me (albeit a very expensive process).  I'm supposed to pick them up tomorrow so hopefully, they will turn out well.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

And The Final One From Carnival



Here is the last one from Carnival '85 in Venice.  I especially like this picture because it shows a good view of the harbor and the Adriatic.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Venice, Italy 1985



It's amazing what you can find in old boxes.  I was digging through one the other day and found this picture of two girls dressed up for Carnival in Venice, 1985.  I was visiting there from my home base in Augsburg, Germany during my time in the army.  Such pictures bring back great memories for me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Once A Warrior, Always A Warrior!




On the top, Field Station Augsburg Germany in 1983 when I was 21 years old.

On the bottom, just outside Kabul, Afghanistan in 2008 when I was 46.  I'm standing next to a downed MI-24 holding my 9mm.

I'd like to go back but I'm afraid I'd never want to leave!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Flu

I have always prided myself on rarely, if ever, missing work even suffering various illnesses while still making it into my job.  Well, this week is hopefully an aberration.  Early Wednesday morning, an outside pipe burst and I had to stay home till someone came and fixed it.  While waiting, I noticed my throat was becoming scratchy which indicates an oncoming cold.  No problem, I thought.  I can easily endure a cold until the weekend.  By Friday morning though, I was at work wearing a coat in 70 degree temps and with chattering teeth!  I ultimately decided to leave work early in order to see the doctor.  What he eventually told me came as a big surprise.  He said I had the flu and a current temperature of 103.1!!!  He also told me the symptoms could have been worse had I not already had a flu shot.  Not only that but he ordered me not to return to work until Tuesday.  Of course, I could endure work tomorrow but will stay home for fear of infecting others if I returned too soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

What are my resolutions for this new year?  First, I must try to have a better attitude about my job and the nature of humanity.  The latter is made more difficult since someone stole a UPS-delivered package that was left at my front door.  I must also try to attend church more often; it will give me solace as I watch my country crumble due to political decisions made in Washington.  Finally, I must try to post more on this blog even if I'm not actively traveling at the moment.

I wish the best for all in the coming year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nijmegen March



A blast from the past!  This is a picture of the 1984 Field Station Augsburg, Nijmegen team.  This team trained for six months to enter the Nijmegen, Holland four-day march which follows the same routes utilized by the allies during Operation Market Garden.  Anyway, we had to march a total of 120 miles with at least 10kgs in our rucksacks.  I know that doesn't sound like much but it's excruciating after a long day of marching.  FYI, I'm second row, third from the right.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winter Has Come!



Taken from my mother's backyard deck in Barboursville, WV.  Looks like the river's getting a little high!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Faberge Egg



I ordered this from ebay and received it yesterday.  Of course, this isn't one of the real Faberge eggs as they cost in the millions but it WAS produced by the current Faberge company.  The jewels in the egg are Austrian crystals--this may be the first of many in my collection!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ancestry.com DNA Results3

I recently ordered this DNA kit for my mother just to see the similarity between our DNA and if Ancestry.com would identify us as parent/child.  Her results are listed below:

52% Great Britain
18% Scandinavia
14% Europe West
8%   Ireland
5%   Trace Regions

As a reminder, here are my new updated results:

32% Europe West
25% Great Britain
19% Scandinavia
16% Ireland
8%   Trace Regions
As you can see, her DNA is predominantly British (almost as much as a native according to the site) and mine is more admixed.  It could be my father's DNA is more concentrated in the areas that I have or, I simply inherited a different admixture from both parents.  The site DID identify us as parent/child so this adds credibility to the results.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ancestry.com DNA Results2

It seems that Ancestry.com has refined its algorithm for analyzing DNA results.  If you read my earlier post, you know that the original results of my DNA testing were:

52% Scandinavian
20% British
19% Central European
9% Southern European

Now, the new algorithm has yielded:

32% Europe West
25% Great Britain
19% Scandinavia
16% Ireland
8%   Trace Regions

This is a little confusing for a couple of reasons.  First of all, there is no longer a 'Central European' category, only "Europe West" and "Europe East."  Therefore, I must assume what was lopped off from Scandinavia has been primarily added to the new category of Europe West.  Also, what is the distinction between the "Great Britain" and "Ireland" categories.  Isn't the latter just a part of the former?  Hopefully, the results will be further refined in the future for the sake of clarity.

I ordered the kit for my mother and we're awaiting the results.  It will be interesting to see if Ancestry will identify her as a close relative based on these.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Good Help Is Hard To Find!

Yesterday, I decided to look for some office furniture at my local Office Depot.  I needed a filing cabinet, ideally one made out of wood so that it might blend in better with my other furniture.  I drove about a mile to get to the store nearest my house.  Not only did it not have what I wanted but the furniture department was a disaster with everything arranged helter skelter and with trash on the floor.  I wonder where the manager responsible for this despicable display was?  Anyway, I quickly departed that location.

The next closest location was only a half mile farther so I decided to give it another try.  I did find an acceptable cabinet there but couldn't find any salesmen around to ask questions about it.  Amazingly, the only employee I could locate was one cashier who was already very busy!  Where were the others?  Did someone pull the fire alarm without me knowing?  I waited about 10 minutes and then gave up.

I don't think such poor customer service/poor maintenance is unique to Office Depot.  I've noticed a steady decline in these areas the last several years and believe this correlates with a general decline ongoing in society.  It may be worse in some parts of the country than in others but I believe all are going down.  That's why, in just a few years, I will be looking for a landing place abroad.

Who is John Galt???

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bring On The Decline!



After watching "The Walking Dead" and becoming more and more cognizant of the general decline of my country, I decided to acquire more powerful weaponry.  The first is a sniper rifle with a range of 1,000 yards.  The second is a .223 Bushmaster better for dispersing anarchic mobs of 'zombies.'  After all, they are darn hard to kill! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pensacola Redux

Hmm, I haven't posted anything about Pensacola other than commenting on the condition of my hotel.  I guess that's because I found the city to be totally uninspiring and comparing unfavorably to San Antonio which I'm not a big fan of either.  I can't imagine why anyone would want to move there unless they live for the beach although I'm sure there are better beaches elsewhere.  Why didn't I like it there?  To be honest, I can't put it in words other than to say 'blah.'

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Enjoy The Decline2

I arrived in Pensacola, Florida last Tuesday but will talk about my impressions of the city in a later post.  One item I do want to address now is the condition of the hotel I'm staying in.  I arranged this hotel prior  to coming down so didn't see it before I moved in.  What I did do was go to the "Trip Advisor" website and read the reviews.  They were mostly positive with an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5.  Since I'm not too hard to please, I figured this hotel would be fine for me.  So, I called them up to reserve a room.  Their initial rate was higher than my maximum per diem ($102) but they agreed to lower the price to that amount.  I couldn't go wrong with a room rate that high, right?

Well, I was wrong.  I arrived at the hotel and immediately sensed not all was as advertised.  The lobby reeked of cheap.  After being told I had been upgraded to a "suite," I felt a little better but was then brought back down to earth when I saw it.  The carpet was stained and the furniture was old/scarred.  The remote didn't work because the batteries were spent and the staff replaced them with more dead batteries.  Speaking of the staff, they seemed almost catatonic albeit 'nice' and had trouble dealing with the simplest of requests.

The most embarrassing feature of this hotel was the free breakfast buffet.  Actually, I think it should not have been free but that the hotel should have paid the patrons.  The food was that bad.  Further taking away from the ambience was the presence of paper utensils, cups, bowls, and plates.  I think this is the first time I've ever experienced this regardless of the hotel's price.  What were the reviewers on Trip Advisor thinking?

Is this an aberration?  Or, is such poor presentation a result of cost-cutting measures?  Actually, I believe it's just a reflection of the decline of American society in which poor customer service is simply one feature of the decline.