My status

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reading List --- Technical Books (O'Reilly Nutshell)

For all my geeky friends....
Email me for a link to the series of all O'Reilly technical books for your perusal.

Seeing the path for what it is...

Note to self:

Look up, look down. I am high in the mountains, I am low in the valley. I am sad, happy, indifferent & excited. What I have failed to understand until my dream last night is that the path is what it is, it is rocky at times, it is plain smooth, it is comfortable and even comforting, but none of that matters.

The path is the all of its variations.

Don't wince, whine nor wonder about the emotions you feel at any particular time.
Learn to be balanced all of the time. Learn to live with inner joy & quiet strength.
Anger, fear, violence... are just as impressive as happiness, rebirth & safety.

Why? Because it always changes, it constantly changes. Nothing remains the same.
Just as darkness always comes each evening, The sun also rises each morning.

So each moment is nothing but transient.
Be calm, be present in all things.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Good Days!

I feel good --- broke free of my melancholy moments of late and decided to go out this morning and help a friend in need. Friend of mine had to install a new liner in his pool and what else to do on a Sunday morning when the temperature is like 100F? After raking sand smooth, putting in a soft fabric, then the heavy vinyl liner, we worked on the new PVC piping for the drain & clean-out valves. All in all a pretty successful day and it was so hot, when filling the pool we checked it about 3-4" to smooth out some wrinkles, the water temperature was actually 106F!

It is nice to break away and help someone...simply for the sake of making someone's life a little easier, perhaps a little better. Plus it makes them feel that they owe you something down the road..... LOL, J/K. Good to have great friends and feel better for getting out there and helping.

Need to get back with volunteer work again, I miss all of that work I did after some difficult times in 2005 after my divorce, the ending of an painful relationship, and certainly after Katrina. It enriches your soul to give without reservation, to serve others is the ultimate calling of duty & love.

Anyone else need a pool liner installed? ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Empty Path....

I saw one of my sisters pass by the other day in her car as I was leaving my subdivision, and I waved. Time stopped briefly. In the midst of that simple gesture, I quickly felt that things have changed and time had taken its course on our relationship. Time has its way of teaching you both the importance of each passing moment as well as revealing the growth or subsequent decay of your relationships. Moments from the years of laughter, fun, anger, sadness, joy & sorrow that I recalled sharing with my sister entered into my head in a blazing rush.

I chalked it all up to another failed relationship, another loving sibling partnership that had been tarnished beyond recognition. Perhaps by my own hands or the influence of others, I cannot keep track of the difference that it makes anymore --- determining whose fault it might have been, whose hands are still stained, who said what, when, & how those words might justify the feeling of exile. How those words could even matter, how those words reveal the true fragility of our relationship in the first place.

These days I feel emptier than usual. Both at work, home and on my journey. I am cognizant that each step is not going to lead you to a beautiful mountain overlook, nor a calming rustling stream, some sections on your journey are just going to be walking over mundane flat land without a tree of shade, a rock of shelter, nor a valley of serenity. I go through the motions, the emotions of trying so hard to keep myself positive, motivated and passionate even in spite of the raging judgment, condemnation & solitude that I feel from those at work and elsewhere in my life.

I plan on going out today and doing some backpacking, or geocaching & just finding something in nature, the only true constant source of balance in my life, to bring me back. Bring me back to something more peaceful, more renewed, more richly rewarded. Each step with purpose of overcoming those who have let you down, learning to be a better person, to forgive those who have lost sight of the simplicity of life, lost sight of the magic of being alive for one more day.

It is easy to get discouraged with life at times, to feel that you are undervalued and perhaps giving too much of yourself is the root of your own failure, the rationale for the depth of the pain that you feel. But it part of my soul, part of my essence to always care, always carry the passion for the activities that I participate in. Always love and miss those who are both here and not present in my life anymore.

For now, I just continue to walk this journey....seeking out its purpose.
I apologize for the solemn nature of this post, but it is how I feel this morning.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


After a stressful and critical week of work, this weekend was exactly what I needed.
Got all 3 vehicles hand-washed & waxed early about 7am on Saturday. Went to a nice local health food deli and grabbed a super healthy & delicious lunch, then headed to the park with Sonoma. Picked up some local seafood and prepared an amazing lunch on Sunday of fresh 10oz. pan-seared black drum filets with garlic & lemon-dill cream sauce & steamed asparagus with sliced almonds. Also had a fresh pan-seared garlic shrimp appetizer that was tasty! Wow, that lunch was great! :)

Ran some errands, went to Wal-Mart --- got the usual $200 of groceries & splurged for some Breyers reduced fat chocolate ice cream.... ;)

Yummy. I feel healthy, refreshed & relaxed --- time for another tour of duty at the
wonderful world of work. Perhaps, there will be better days..... :D

Keep smiling.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My review of Mountain Springs Cabins - Ponca Arkansas

I wanted to post my own personal review of Mountain Springs Cabins near Ponca, Arkansas for a few weeks now, so here it goes... I hope that my summary will provide some much needed insight and experience for those considering staying in this area of the country.

Here is the link to the cabin Mountain Springs Cabins

Date of Stay: June 13-19th, 2009

I. Reservation Policy (A) --- The reservation policy was really simple. Just emailed the address on the website and checked the dates for availability. I received a friendly & informative response within a couple days, then called back with my CC, solidified the deal and paid 1/2 now, the rest due at the time of the stay. Fair enough, simple and easy process.

II. Arrival/Directions (B+) --- Easy to find. Very good directions, even easier than what you think by reading the arrival notes sent after reservations are made. The owners live at the entrance to the "cabin road" at the top of the hill and were friendly and informative. I paid the remaining balance and drove onward to the cabin.

III. Cabin - First Impressions (B) --- The cabin was a nice basic A-frame log-cabin structure facing east-to-west with a large porch on 2-sides offering great hill-top Ozark views and wonderful breezes in the evening. The interior was quaint and overly "countrified" for my taste, but still adequate. Only one bedroom with a door and one bathroom --- the loft had space for open sleeping with 2 beds and a futon.

IV. Cabin - Usage/Comfort --- (D)

We visited during mid June and by this time it was already pretty hot and the single central AC in the living area on the first floor simply was not adequate for proper cooling. Adding insult to injury is that you could not leave it on HIGH-COOL, since it would freeze-up and stop working completely. We slept a few nights wondering why we were paying to have sheets stick to our body, but we got over it. The loft area is worse off as cold air does not rise and all of the thermal heat built up during the day, just stays in the loft and it is quite warm most of the time. Great for winter, bad for summer. The TV is extremely small and only located in the living room but it did have a DVD player and actually had several family movies for all to share.

The kitchen in the cabin is poorly designed as there is almost no counter or pantry storage space. The tiny electric hotplate "stove" is not exactly what is required to feed a family over an entire week of meals. Basic pots and pans are included, but no garbage disposal for some reason. In addition, the single bathroom is not a plus, but it was again adequate for the job.

Another mishap is that the loft area staircase is extremely steep and the fan at the top of the stairs almost nearly chopped my head off --- I am 6'3" --- but wow, not the safest design that I have ever seen. Might be worth checking this out if I was the owner. :)

Saving grace...
The one truly amazing part of the cabin was the green binder. It held a tremendous collection of personal stories, journeys to nearby towns, restaurant menus and lots of very interesting information. Really nice and helpful.

V - Cabin - Outside (C)

The view from the porch on the cabin is really nice, but the advertised property "trails" are just areas of high grass that are just slightly cut lower than the rest of the area. Uncut might be 12-18" high and the trails were about 4-6" high! The area needs to be cut completely and kept short. I just pictured more of the land would have be cleared to offer up a better view of the sunsets.

We backpacked & rockclimbed extensively during our trip to the Ozarks in a multitude of areas and not once did we gather as many ticks as we did in each 10-20 minute walk around the "trails" --- It was ridiculous. Each trek out around this property, we each got about 10 ticks each in less than 10 minutes!

Just cut it low and keep it cut low, this isn't a rain forest, this is a cabin. Keep the property clean cut and lose the "trails" --- not only less snakes and ticks, but maybe people will actually enjoy the walks across the land and have more room for a proper view.

To reach the property, you had to enter/exit through a shared driveway that went right through the owners backyard. The owners were nice and friendly, but you never quite shook the impression that they were close-by and perhaps that made it feel more like you were staying at someone's home and less that you were on your vacation. Some people might like that, but I like to come and go on my own without having to stop and discuss my agenda for the day.

VI - Cabin - Overall Summary (C-)

The cabin is nice & clean, but really needs some updating and better use of space for the kitchen and bedrooms. Central AC is needed with large open duct in the loft area. The kitchen needs better appliances and more counter space and a pantry cabinet. Get rid of the excess standing, sitting and growling bears & the multitude of "You are in the country" --- "Welcome to the Woods" decor and other accessories that rob the cabin of most usable space for actually storing essentially and food needed for the stay.

The owners clearly need to do one least a couple times a year.
LIVE IN THE CABIN FOR A WEEK. Not just during the fall or winter, but stay during June or heaven-forbid, July or August & STAY THERE --- try to sleep while enjoying the paltry AC, sleep in the actual beds and try to prepare and cook actual meals in that kitchen.

Overall, a nice place with really kind owners, but just not my cup of tea. This cabin is central to really nice towns such as Harrison, Boxley, Ponca and Osage ---- but not the best stay for my hard-earned dollar. If I am paying for basic occupancy with little or no air-conditioning, we will just camp out next time and avoid the issues & expectations completely.

I must say that I completely enjoyed this area and we will return to soak up more of the wonderful Ozarks. However, we will certainly stay somewhere else next time, if nothing else than to see something new and explore another part of this wonderful world. It just didn't "match" our picture of what it would be like when we made our reservations, and while it may have been better in the winter, it really didn't matter.... OH, YEAH.... Forget cell coverage. I had phones from 3 networks and none of them worked reliably at all. Not a big thing since we wanted to escape it all, but just wanted to share for full disclosure.

The Ozarks were truly spectacular and we loved our trip, but the cabin was simply not the STAR that we thought it might be.

All the best,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hyloft Ceiling Storage


Ask me how difficult it is to install a ceiling mount storage system by yourself?
LOL. Keep 2 things handy ----- an oversized carpenter square and a truck load of patience.......
This HYLOFT HEAVY DUTY storage system will hold over 500lbs and store up to 27 storage boxes.
Right now, the left side is storing some of my model airplane gear and the rest is just stuff that was on the ground. It looks smaller in the photo, this system is actually 6' wide and 4' deep. Check out more of these solutions from Hyloft at their site: HYLOFT STORAGE

Nice system, good price, just bring your A-game with carpentry skills & a loud radio to cover your swearing from the noisy neighbors.... ;) LOL.

Fun, fun....
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Katey & the Buffalo River


Just a nice picture of my beautiful daughter, Katey in the Buffalo River. (June 2009)
What a glorious place, water was cold. Was a truly wonderful trip --- lots of good memories. :)
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Friday, July 10, 2009


I know that I have preached the ever-present reality of change and its desire to simply fulfill itself, but I now get to face another chapter. My daughter has decided (apparently this evening) to move back home to live with her mom, this was unexpected since I sit here staring at a 1-way ticket with the date of July 27th, 2009. She was supposed to attend school again this year with me and move back for high school in 2010.

I feel like that I have let her down, maybe I was too demanding and had too much structure, or maybe I just worked too much and didn't spend enough time with her this past year. I just want her to be happy and truly successful, so I am OK with the change, as much as I don't really understand it.

It hits hard, bringing up feelings of loss that I didn't know were still there...stemming directly from the last time that I had to deal with my daughter leaving when I got divorced and she moved 900 miles away...leaving me alone and empty.

I feel that same feeling tonight, but I know I want her to be happy. I know change is a normal part of life, part of nature, part of the journey.....but I guess it is not always easy to understand.

I love my children deeply. I hope that I can continue to be the father I want to be.

Good night for now, I cannot speak anymore about this.....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tired ---- Overvaluing work?

Sitting here, I am still growing tired of the everyday stress, expectations and unyielding demands of my work. I try to maintain the presence of my jovial & passionate spirit, but slowly...quietly...I am losing my grasp on the reality of my sanity & the corporate executive metrics that measure my personal worth.

Spending more time at work than anywhere else, it does impact must impact you to some degree. Feeling overworked and undervalued has become common-place and accepted, but I guess I have always strived to break that mold by always striving and acheiving more than expected, even in spite of the expectations.

That bar that has been so feverishly raised over the last several years is now honing itself to become my nemesis of destruction, my razor-sharp measuring stick...the essence of my professional value. I am better than what I have allowed myself to become, better than what I have been judged and given more of myself than most all for the altruistic team goal of progress & success.

I assume over time when you are criticized, critiqued, judged, undervalued and essentially just unappreciated, it gets to you every once in a while. It is part of working for a corporation and really caring passionately about who you are and what you do. It still stings for a while, but I guess it is just the Queen bee reminding you that even as bright and educated as you think you are, you are still just another worker bee..... in their hive, so get back to work. :)

I strive each day to do the right thing, to care about what I do and how my actions contribute to the overall team success. I have given up and lost more than most in their lives simply by always overvaluing work...been through bad marriages, 2 children, multiple homes, jobs, numerous relationships and many other events that I simply had to lose somewhere along the way. I should blame myself for caring too much, but I cannot stop who I am...

I am not unique in this, but some people really leave their lives at work when they leave. I don't know who they are, but I need to find a way to balance my life and not lose sight that this is just a job, just a method of trading my time for money, a way to contribute passionately to the success of someone else's business and bottom line.

I am not complaining, rather I am eternally thankful for my position within this great company --- I just need more balance. I need to accept the role that I perform and not attach my own personal self-value to the impressions, nor approvals of my superiors.

I am still maturing in this, but life is more than work...more than what people may do, say or think about, keep buzzing around & keep smiling. :D


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Angry Progress....

Looking back at recent moments, I believe that a change has been in order.
Sometimes, you have to get angry or at least focused with great fortitude and passion in order to make significant progress. Meditation, reflection, Zen quotes & happy thoughts might make you satiated for the moment, but it doesn't work all of the time. Sometimes you need a hardcore, bold change in order to free yourself from doldrums of the grind wheel. Sometimes you just need to push yourself, recapture your toughness and just get out there and DO SOMETHING.

Got back in the gym lately and feel much better. Been more direct with people without apology nor reservation. Take out your aggressions while you are still young enough to not regret your mistakes, your indecisiveness & your plans for the future.

It is sometimes hard in this weak & overly catered society, but you have to find ways to just be yourself and never lose sight of your inner spirit & strength.