Chuck's  2012 Ramblings...

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November 7th 2012 - It has been what seems like EONS since my last updte.  Much has happened and I promise to catch up soon.  I just need to put forth the following.

I am voting for Mitt Romney because:

  1.  Romney worked for a company (Bain) and his job was to streamline businesses and to make the hard recommendations required to either make the company a success or drop it.  Many of these companies you probably shop at Toy-R-Us, The Sports Authority, Dominos Pizza and Brookstone to mention a few.  Romney turned those companies around and made them profitable. 

  2.  No matter what anyone says the record is clear that Romney took over the 2002 Olympics which was beset with corruption and scandal and turned it around as a model for how Olympics are run to this day.

  3.  Mitt Romney became the governor of one of the most heavily Democrat dominated states in the union, Massachusetts.  While governor he turned a multibillion dollar deficit to a multi           billion dollar SURPLUS.  This was done with a state government majority that was Democrat - that shows he HAD to have the ability to negotiate and compromise to get things done with people who were of the opposite party.

  4.  He was a pastor of a church for a number of years, while I don't throw much stock in a religious agenda - you kind of know my feelings on organized religion, an asshole makes for a pretty poor pastor, so chances are he succeeded at that as well.

  5. While governor of Massachusetts, Romney embraced interlacing women and minorities in his cabinet, more so than any other governor at the time including California.  I believe he will put whomever is qualified into a position to get the job done.

  6.  The defense of this country time and time again has depended on our Navyís ability to either put a show of force into position quickly and to be able to deliver if need be.  In the first Gulf war I was a part of that while I worked for Raytheon.  We were working towards a 600 ship strong navy around that time.  This year Obama claims he can do the job with the current Navy.  I beg to differ, we have a fleet of around 285 ships that many have an increased capability than their predecessors, however, we would be hard pressed to protect American Interests in more than one ocean.  This is an unacceptable vulnerability.  Obama slams Romney for saying Romney is going to build the US Defense back up by touting why give the military more than they are asking for?  The military hasnít asked for more because they have been told by the Obama administration to CUT, CUT and REDUCE defense spending.  Our nation is at it lowest state of readiness that I have experienced in my 36 years supporting the Navy and the Defense community has been told to expect even more cuts.
I am NOT voting for Barack Obama because:

  1.  He himself stated that if he had not turned around the economy by his third year, he was done.  We are almost at the end of his fourth year and no improvement.

  2.  During the first TWO years of the Obama presidency the Democrats controlled the HOUSE AND the SENATE.  It should have been a "slam dunk" for Obama to push his agenda and promises through the legislature.  But he was so poor at it that his own party, Democrats, did not follow him and scoffed at many of his bills.  The media reported these failures as republicans not cooperating, but with the Democrats having a controlling majority in both the House and the Senate this made no sense.

  3. Obama's experience level before he was president consisted of being a community organizer, who associated with radical leftwing groups and as an ineffective Illinois senator.  As an Illinois senator he proposed a number of bills to be voted on by the Illinois State Senate and only one or two were successful.  He was UNABLE to compromise and acquire support from the republicans on anything.  This unwillingness to compromise and negotiate with the other parties has followed him into the White House.

  4.  Obama decided to not provide cost of living raises for the hard working military and government workers for the past three years.  He managed to get the media to believe that this workforce are overpaid and don't deserve increases.  The men and women of todayís military deserve more pay and allowances than the currently get.  The nation idolizes first responders ever since 9/11, but how about the folks who put themselves into HARMS WAY on a daily basis and have no champions. President Obama treats them as pawns as evidenced in his scheme to pay them. And as far as government workers, the truth to the matter is that the government employee LAGS behind employees in the private world by as much as 40%, 32% for science and technology professions, yet he ended their cost of living pay raises by presidential decree (Executive Order) which Congress can't even oppose.  Basically he just DID IT.  I myself have not had a cost of living pay raise since January of 2008, and none is in sight as long as he remains in office. 

  5  This wonderful policy of President Obamaís that does not support the business community, will kill the one thing that made America great.  The incentive that if you work hard and do your best, you will succeed.  Obama has worked steadily to kill incentives for business, large and small, to succeed.  In example of this, my lovely wife has had to take MORE than a 25% pay cut by reduction in hours from her employer.  In real dollars her reduction of hours has netted us a $450 a month reduction in our useable income, couple that with no pay raises for me for the last three years equates to at least another three to four hundred more dollars a month.  That means our net income is over $700 a month less than it should be.  Add to that whatever the inflation rate and we are sucking some major hind teat.

  6.  For the first time in American history the credit rating for our company was significantly reduced.  Take few moments and let your head wrap around how that positions the United States in the world financial arena.

  7.  Obamaís foreign policy, publicly humbling himself in front of foreign dignitaries and the whole debacle of the Syria massacre of our emissaries.

  8.  Two words, Fast & Furious.  How do you EVER justify giving drug cartels access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons to knowingly understand that they will be used against law enforcement?

AND NO I DONíT WATCH FOX NEWS or LISTEN TO THE LIKES OF RUSH, I can glean all of this through the national (read that liberal) news organizations and can see the real truth.

I know what must occur on election day to effect real change.  The most important thing you can do is VOTE.  Please do not waste your right afforded to you by the Constitution of the United States.

Vote for whoever you think is really going to help, I am clear in my heart of my decision, are you?

April 22 2012 - Since my last update I have gone down another pants size.  I wear a 34 waist and a 32 inseam, if I can go down one more pants size I will be known as Chuck Dude Square Pants.  I also worked my way through another Birthday, I am now 54 years old, but I am still younger than both my Bride and my SISTER.  After acquiring a new iPad and iPhones I made the offhand remark to my aforementioned bride that when our PCs die, I might like to replace one of them with an Apple Macintosh to do something different.  So on my birthday The wonder of my life took me to the Apple store and bought me a Mac Mini computer.  It was outfitted with a two 500GB hard drives bringing a total storage capacity of one Terabyte on hard drive, 8 GB of on board memory and a quad core i7 processor running at 2.0 Ghz, A true screamer on anyone's measure.  It was also the cheapest Mac option there is as I did not have to buy an Apple monitor.  I did buy a super drive that does CDs and DVDs both writing and reading, an Apple keyboard.  We brought it home and once finished with the setup process I  sat kind of dumbfounded for a little while.  How the hell do you open a program?  How do you quit one after you start it? I had only fiddled with a Mac once back when the very first Apple Macintosh came out in the early Eighties, and that was a very brief encounter.  So we bought some Mac books from Barnes & Noble, I read and tinkered.  When we bought the computer we bought two software packages with it, as I figured I could not live without them.  MS Office and Quicken for MAC.  The MS Office installed fine and I was able to transfer contacts and pst file info over easily, took time, but it was pretty easy.  Then came Quicken.  As soon as I opened the box I read in the manual pages that came with it that it could not PAY BILLS via the Internet. Damn, that was the primary thing we use Quicken for on the PC.  I also learned that if I wanted to run my weather station software I would have to shell out some BIG bucks to Davis Instruments for the MAC version of the weather software.  So here I sit with two SIGNIFICANT pieces of software I MUST run, but can only run on Windows PC.  The solution?  I set up a Virtual Windows PC on the MAC and then transferred my actual Windows PC environment to a virtual image on the MAC.  Again, not a quick process - took two solid days, however it worked. Then I started bringing all of my PC graphics files over from the PC to the MAC.  What a pain, it brought them over as a different user so I had to go in and modify the permissions for the files to let me see and use them as my main log in user.  Along the way I learned that the heart of the MAC is actually a clever GUI front end sitting upon a UNIX build.  Out comes the terminal and I am quickly fixing file permissions with chmod.  The last bit of software I felt I must have to run on the MAC was my Canon Digital SLR camera utilities since I do a bunch of imaging and image handling/processing.  I tried to install from the Canon factory disk that came with the DSLR, but I kept encountering a "You do not have sufficient privileges to install this software" error.  I tried everything, including logging on as another user, logging on as root (the most powerful user in UNIX), changing the permissions on all of the installation files, all to no avail.  So I called Canon and spent forty five minutes on the phone with their technical reps and they could not solve it other than to point the blame at Apple.  So I called Apple and spent almost an hour on the phone with their tech wizards (they call them Geniuses, the jury is still out on that call) and their best solution was for me to take the whole shootin match to the Apple store where their "Geniuses" could help ascertain if the problem was in the computer or the disk I was trying to install from.   I spent four hours at the Apple store at the mercy of the Apple "geniuses".  They appeared to have the problem solved and the Canon software would load.  I went home a tired but happy camper.  Once home I began fiddling around with installing the remaining Canon software utilities and I quickly learned what the "Geniuses" had done.  They simply re-installed a NEW instance of the MAC Operating System and copied the contents of the Application folder over to it.  They installed this bit of trickery on the second Hard Drive in the computer. I already had the virtual PC loaded on that hard drive so between this second installation of the MAC operating system and the actual virtual PC files, the second half of a Terabyte hard drive had less than a gigabyte of storage left!  So here the computer sits with s second working boot-up partition and the ENTIRE virtual machine taking up nearly all of one of the two hard drives and leaving a crippled version of the OS on the other hard drive. I was upset that they did that and called the store.  So after nearly two weeks of transferring and loading software the Apple store erased those hard drives and gave me a brand new computer fresh out of the box.  It only took me two and a half day to rebuild it back to the point it was before the issue with the Canon software, and it loaded the Canon software without a hitch.  So I am now actually trying to use the MAC as a replacement computer for my Windows PC.  I am actually scribing this edition of the Rambling on the MAC.  I have two weeks to decide if I really want to keep this computer or not.  I have until May 2nd to decide.  If on May first I am not happy I can box it all up, including the software and take it back to the Apple store for a full refund.    I should have gone through creating one new newsletter creation for the Norfolk County Rifle range club and a myriad of other "chores" by then.

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Mac Mini on the bottom, Super drive in the middle and Ethernet hub on top.

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Mac Mini stack on the left, Western digital 3TB drive and broadband router with USB hub.

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Last pic.

I mentioned that we have iPhones, here is the story on THAT.  I messed up my Motorola DROID phone to the point that it was unusable.  An initial trip to the Verizon store was frustrating to say the least, I could not get out of the contract which meant that I would have to pay FULL price for a new phone.  Downhearted I left the Verizon tore and went home, contemplating activating my old non smart phone, but still having to be on the hook for the data plan selected for the defunct DROID.  Couple this with the fact that I HATED the Motorola DROID phone due to a plethora of reasons I decided to actually call the Verizon folks on their customer service number.  After a period with them I again found out that Verizon doesn't care how long, 18+ years, you have been a faithful customer, you are still stuck with the plan until time runs out or you "pay" it off.  However, the phone representative told me there WAS a way I could acquire a new phone and get the special pricing but it would mean two things.  I would have to sign a new two year contract and incur an additional $10 a month on my card for at least another year, which is the length of my existing contract.  The scheme goes like this.  She seen from our previous account history that we had two non-smart phones BEFORE we acquired the DROIDS and asked if we still had them and they were functional.  They were.  SO what Verizon did was activate a new account (the $10 per month charge) add that new account and number to our "Friends & Family" for cell minutes and then we purchased a new phone for that newly activated line.  However, they assigned the new number to our OLD non-smart phones, and assigned MY cell number to the new iPhone and, best of all, TRANSFERRED the data package from the old DROID to the new iPhone.  So for an extra ten bucks a month for the new line activation, I am good to go.  Now as soon as WIFEY seen how slick the iPhone was, and remember we both had significant issues with the Motorola DROIDS, she now wanted an iPhone.  So to bring this story to an end I will say that we did the same swithc-a-roo with her phone.  So we now have two iPhones.  We also have two non-smart phones just sitting in a drawer that we are spending $20 a month for.  It sounds kind of ridiculous to go through all of that effort and expense, but to get RID of those DROIDS it was cheap.

Karen has been hooked by the Scentsy bug.  Scentsy is a system that delivers various aromas to your abode via aromatic hot wax warmers heated by special low wattage light bulbs.  At least it makes the house smell better than dog. She is into it hook line and sinker.  She started having parties and selling the stuff so much that it was impractical to carry all of the stuff she needed to put on a party in her little Honda two door coupe.  And after instances of her needing my SUV on the same nights I was doing telescope stuff it quickly became apparent that her little red Accord would have to get swapped out. So we traded the little red 2010 Accord in for a 2010 white Honda CRV, yes she had a CRV before the Accord, but we got such a swell deal on the new CV we could not afford to pass it up.  Plus no more leased vehicles, we are buying this one outright.  It might be the one we retire in too Colorado in about eight years.  Karen has been going like gangbusters setting up parties and attending events with her district Scentsy manage.  It has given the old goat a new lease on things!  I am glad that she has found something to pour her discretionary time into, Lord knows she doesn't get into standing out all hours of the night hunting for fuzzy things in telescopes and she doesn't get a "bang" out of shooting, so I welcome her adventure.  As far as Scentsy, she has our house covered.

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Scentsy #1, our bathroom.

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Scentsy #2, our bedroom.

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Scentsy #3, the big bedroom or Karen's den.

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Scentsy #4, the small bedroom which is my telescope storage room / Cammies bedroom.

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Scentsy #5, the guest bathroom.

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Scentsy #6, Karen's computer desk.

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Scentsy #7, the kitchen.

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Scentsy #8, last but not least the family room.

The Dork's kids are growing, Cammie is ten and a half, Casey is almost getting close to two and Sophia is growing like a weed.  The Dork is learning what it is like having multiple small children needing constant attention.  Just remember Dorkie, your mother juggled two kids THIRTEEN months apart WITHOUT any help from friends or FAMILY and me being at sea or working during the majority of it, and to boot we were a couple bucks a month shy of being considered in poverty.  My hats is off to both of you, just think, in about fifteen years you will have two TEENAGERS in the house at once...

Cammie is once again in Little League baseball, it would be nice if he and his mother could find one sport and stick to it, that way he could build experience and knowledge in a sport.  But it also takes some commitment on the parent's part, in The Dork's case, her part, to attend the games and make sure he makes it to the games.  Even though I was working for Raytheon and traveling greater than 80% of the time I managed to make it to almost every single game Cheryl or Michael participated in.  I could probably count on one hand the number of games I missed between the both of them for about five+ years.

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Cameron plays catcher for his Little League team.

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Cameron catching a strike.

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Ratbert looking for a hit.

The dogs are all doing well, too well in fact.  They are all on DIET dog food, the only one who does not need to be on the reduced calorie food is Bronco who is quite svelte at about 105 lbs.  Ninya who is about a hand shorter than Bronco outweighed him by a pound at the last vet visit.  Tinkerbell, well let's just give the mental image of a football with toothpicks as legs, and little miss Ellie is getting quite a stomach as well.  So ALL treats have been stopped, save an occasional scrap of scrambled egg or sparsely provided Milkbones.  The cats are still getting along just fine, Scout is over 16 years old with Tessa not far behind him.  In fact Scout just sneaked up a tree and plucked a nearly full grown baby black bird from its nest and brought it down for Karen, so he is no slouch there.  He howls at Karen all the time for food and attention and now gets his ass locked up in the laundry room at night.

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The Chihuahuas, Tinkerbell on the left and Ellie on the right.

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The "old Man" Scout taking a catnap in Tink's cage.

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Ninya our female Rottweiler.

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Tessa spends 90% of her time here. The other 5% crapping and 5% eating.

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Bronco our male Rottweiler on "his" couch.

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Ellie claiming Karen's recliner.

February 2012 - It has literally been MONTHS since I updated my Ramblings page.  A lot has happened so I will try to catch you all up in some kind of chronographically twisted order.  The first thing is that i bought yet another 9mm pistol in my search for the perfect competition pistol.  This time I bought a Springfield Armory XDM-9.  It was sure a lot sweeter to shoot than my Ruger pistols, and quite a bit more accurate.  I bought the XDM-9 a few weeks before Christmas or right after Thanksgiving of last year, not 100% clear of the week.  I could go dig out the receipt and pinpoint the date, but does it matter? 

This is the Springfield Armory XDM-9 which was acquired  before Christmas.

Next up was Christmas, and as usual my lovely wife Karen decided to host the entire family.  Her younger brother Brian and his family did not come as is "always" the case someone was violently ill, spewing from both ends or has a cold so bad they are draining buckets.  It ended up being Karen and I, The Dork and her fiancť Chris their two children Cameron and Casey.  My son Michael and his girlfriend Mavelle attended as did Karen's parents Frank and Carol and last but not least, Karen's oldest brother David and his wife Laurie and their son John.  So we had quite a houseful.  Karen cooked Turkey and her mother baked a ham.  Everyone else helped with all of the side dishes as well.   It's a pity that Karen and I can only eat about three ounces before we are full,  but on the other hand, our leftovers last longer, we ate turkey all the next week.  For me, the most notable gift among all of the needed new clothes, was a picture that Karen commissioned to be painted.  Amy Koenig is a local artist who has been painting astronomical paintings for quite some time and had previously  donated two of her paintings for our astronomy club's raffling at the VAAS conference in October.  I really wanted to win one of those paintings and must have spent $50 on raffle tickets to only go home empty handed and disappointed.  I was NOT disappointed on Christmas morning!  The picture hangs above my computer desk so I can see it anytime I want.

My beautiful wife Karen in her new cashmere sweater she received for Christmas.

Our Christmas meal table setup.

Mavelle, Michael, Laurie, David, Frank, Carol, Dork, Goat and Chris.

Dork, Dorkette (in the proverbial oven) Cameron and John.

"Strange New World" by Amy Koenig, my Christmas present from my wife.

Now once again on January 21st I celebrated the 34th year of marriage to my bride.  We went to a local restaurant named Riverstone in Suffolk.  I had a porterhouse with a spud and soup and Karen enjoyed a grouping of calamari, shrimp and a salad that she enjoyed very much.  We split a glass of wine and a cheesecake.  We walked out feeling like a king & queen.  It cost nearly a king's ransom for the meal, about $127 but was well worth it on our special night.

Mrs. Karen Jagow, 1-21-78

Then about three weeks early the Dork decided that the thing growing in her for the last eight months had cooked long enough and her first daughter Sophia Nicole Jagow was born on 2/17/12 @ 6:09 PM and weighed 5 lbs - 10 oz and was 18" tall.  Now the Dork has Cameron 10 1/2, Casey 1 1/2 and Sophia about four weeks old.  I would say she has her hands full for a while, plus she has that damn dog!

Sophia Nicole Jagow, 2-17-12

Dork, Goat and Dorkette.

Everyone is happy, except Casey - who is this stealing my show?

Caey, this is your sister Sophia!

Hmph!  Sister, so what?

I have a new little sister!

Now earlier in this posting I spoke of my search for the perfect 9mm competition pistol.  I thought I had found it with the Springfield XDM-9.  Then I shot an EAA Witness Limited Pro 9mm that had been highly optimized and customized.  It was like night and day.  I quickly put the XDM-9 up for sale and ordered a customized Witness Limited Pro.  It took several weeks for it to be acquired and then chopped and channeled.  The action was reworked from a double action to a single action.  A competition trigger was installed with less than 3 lbs. of pull.  A magazine well was installed and three extra magazines for it.  A custom fiber optic style front sight and custom J & L Gunsmith engraved metallic grips.  It is truly a "race-gun" capable of shooting much faster and accurate than I am!  So now I need practice, practice, practice.  It is a real nice pistol that will serve me well and I believe I now have the perfect competition pistol.  I can change the caliber of it by just acquiring a new slide assembly and magazines.  So for the cost of another very low end pistol, I could buy 10mm and 45 ACP slide assemblies and have a pistol capable of shooting three different calibers.  I think right now all I need is the 9mm setup.

Customized Witness Limited Pro 9mm

I know it took me almost 5 months to update the Ramblings, I am going to try and make it a point to update them at least once a month this year.  So until next time, take it easy!

That's all until next time... 

Jagow's Rest Stop