Everything that is Old is New Again

Short little observation regarding technology that occurred to me this past weekend at a larger upscale bookstore. I had simply ran into store to pick up a copy of one of my favorite periodicals — the mere mention of which brings to mind another blog I need to write about my negative feelings toward technology regarding things such as books, magazines, and even a general distrust of the delivery systems to keep my magazine in prime condition through out its travels until it reaches my hands. I hear you though, enough with the rambling, I am getting back to the topic.

I recall back in the early and mid-eighties when computers were still relatively new and I was one of the few that just had to figure out and learn everything that could be learned about them I got into a shareware software deal with a teacher of mine. Yes, I was the ultimate geek, I tinkered and learned about computers, bought my Timex Sinclair 1000 in 1981 (that took ten yards mown at ten dollars each), and was good friends with a teacher that I did not even have in class at the time. Anyway, we got about fifty diskettes in the 5.25 inch floppy variety loaded with software that was free, less the basic cost of the diskette itself. Most of it was shareware, which was in theory if you used it, send a bit of money to support the development of further projects, updates, etc and some of it was just freeware. Anyway, the average disk would have anywhere from just a few executables to sometimes approaching a few hundred. Keep in mind, these diskettes held the major amount of 360 kilobytes of information. Yes, that is kilo – not mega. So amongst the jewels of educational and business software, there were a number of computer based games – the vast majority of which were based on the classic board games that I had been playing the previous decade (that was the seventies for those of us keeping count).

So, what does this trip down memory lane have to do with my being in the bookstore this weekend and old being new again? in the bookstore, on the shelf right below the revamped, shiny version of the Stratego and Risk board games, was a new board game called Age of Empires III – oddly a board game based on a popular computer game. And the implication is that perhaps the previous two Age of Empires were done as board games as well. Interesting thing is Age of Empires, if not a direct lineage back to Risk and Stratego, is at least the offspring of something was influenced by the two a few generations before. The world turns, the circle is complete, everything old is new again.

Jousting, Horses, and Winter Blahs…

The following is from my blog over on MySpace (Medieval Jouster), I thought it would be good to include it over here as well, as this is the main place I intend to blog from this point forward. It is a few days old, mostly detailing things from weekend just past (11th-12th of January).

Horses in the SnowFor those that may be wondering why there is NOT much going on this blog – it is the off-season for the Northern Hemisphere as far as jousting is concerned. Especially for those of us that live more than an hour or two from the Gulf Coast in North America. Even more limiting is that in 2007 I did most of my jousting in the Northern reaches of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan and it looks as if that is where a good deal of it will be again this coming year (though I am also looking at trying to do some in the Carolina’s as well).

Anyway, the point is that jousting and preparation for jousting this time of year is about as boring and uninspiring as it gets. I spent the biggest part of my weekend tracking down and procuring hay for Jack, Angel, and the rest of the horse gang. This was no small feat given the draught we had from early summer forward this past year. Of course, once hay was found, you sure couldn’t tell anything of the draught. Since back in December, we have now been very wet and are probably catching up with some of the amount we are behind on – to the point of trying to flood some over the last week or so. Anyway, back to the hay, went to get it and nearly hung up the truck getting to where the hay was. Then of course it was spitting rain, thankful of that, as it had been raining a bit harder up until that point. And get this, starting the day the temperature had been in the upper 40’s. By the time we got out to load the hay it 40. During the 30 minutes we loaded the hay it dropped to 36 degrees.

Then came the fun of unloading it when I got it back to the barn where the horses are stabled currently. This was of course followed by then trudging the 1/4 mile with feed while hay went back on a pseudo carry-all on the tractor. But Jack and Angel were excited and glad to see me with the feed. They must have been watching – as they started getting frisky when I walked behind the barn, still a good bit to the pasture. That is what makes the winter time barely bearable with the horses.

Anyway, the point of all this is the ground is wet, muddy, and churns up way to easy. It is mostly rainy, or as it tried a bit yesterday, snowy, and if conditions are right, in this area, some kind of slushy icy mix. And the forecast for this week, may have solid ground, but that is only because it is going to be frozen with highs of around 20 degrees in the forecast I looked at last week (ice in the water troughs to be broken and removed – what fun). So, for at least another month or two not much in the way of riding or practicing – but a LOT of effort required during the short-term to keep everything ready.

Right now I am sitting here being bummed just thinking about how long it has even been since I have ridden. I knew I should have taken advantage of those last opportunities when I thought it was too cold or was just too busy as the last days of fall slipped away. I will be looking forward to early/mid March when Jack and I can hopefully slip off toward the Gulf Coast and participate in Gulf Wars – one of our favorites.

Chuck Norris, teenagers, and presidential hopefuls

Chuck NorrisChuck Norris is apparently a major player in the presidential primary campaigns for the 2008 election cycle. First, just to keep Chuck from coming and wanting to kick my behind-end, let me state that I have no problem with him endorsing any candidate he wishes (my understanding the nod goes to Huckabee). Nor do I have any problem with his stumping for said candidate, especially on issues that Chuck holds dear and feels that candidate is the best man or woman for the job. What I do have issue over is the marketing power of such folks as Mr. Norris (and I am sure there others like him) and the way the candidates have recognized this and are fully taking advantage of it.

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WordPress VS. Joomla

A major change for this website. Not sure how many remember that are still clicking here, but apparently from traffic counts, more than a few. I used to run a business selling collectibles on this website. Have toyed with a couple of different things since then. Nothing really struck a chord strong enough to be taken full-out despite several ideas for the usage of the name.

Anyway – last night I finally decided that setting up a full-blown blog with several different categories here on this site was the right thing to do. So, I un-installed the Joomla content management system that I had most recently been toying with, installed WordPress, ported over my stuff from that site, downloaded a few themes, and ta-da – what you see is that result. Looking pretty good, excepting my incorporation of Google’s AdSense stuff over there in the left hand frame. I am thinking that is a minor something, but I am hoping to get that figured out shortly. Anyway, the design is so much less to set up then a full-blown CMS (had been toying with the idea, but thanks Chris – aka www.mechguy.com, for the final convincing from his own recent change to a blog setting) – really only utilizing the components that I will be needed and I can add in things as required using plugins (which there are 100’s of things available). Hopefully the nature of this being a blog will encourage a more regular stream of updates from me.

Update on Life

First things first – for those that were watching (don’t think it was many), IBitzer as a pup. have moved the blog from the free space over on WordPress.com to my own hosted space at mephistos.com using the wordpress engine and such. I have, as was stated in one of the two post from so long ago, felt a major need to for an outlet of this nature. Hopefully, with this move and a bit more time, I will get more opportunity to post things here.

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This is the beginning of this blog. I feel like there should be something profound here, especially since I originally turned this thing on more than a few months ago and had kind of waiting for the right moment to proceed. That has not occurred as of yet. There are plenty of excuses, some of which might even start to hold up as being valid. A few that I could offer is the dividing up of property between myself and ex-girlfriend, including a house and farm, horses, dogs, and cats; the fact that I teach part-time and work a full-time job; the full-time job has had a recent promotion to director of information technology; budget cycles; and some general soul-searching. However, excepting possibly the last one, I do not think that any of those are a valid reason for not having started this.

Another beginning, of sorts, deserves mention here as well. I have had some notes for a book that have been around since at least 1991 or 1992, maybe even as far back 1989 for some of it, when I think on it. I have some notes floating around in my head for another one as well. I admit, from the beginning, I am not the best of writers. Actually, I guess my brain is pretty much wired to the other side – being more logic oriented (although I have my thoughts about this whole right and left brained thing too – maybe another comment sometime – and now I see why I have never started this before, I can’t narrow my thoughts for long enough to let my fingers keep up with things… 🙂 )

Back to the books, the first is set in a high fantasy environment. Think along the lines of Tolkien – who incidentally is my all time favorite author. The main character is basically a charming scoundrel and the story will follow his realization of how far he has fallen and then, as the fates have their play with him, his chance and redemption through heroic deeds, but more importantly his own realizations of things. The second idea is a historical fiction work, set in and around Kentucky primarily during the civil war. A man who is part of an extreme religious sect will rebel against his blood family and the extended family of his faith to join in and support his beliefs regarding the war. The question of redemption could come in here too, but the greater question is probably who needs the redemption – the person that acts on his beliefs or the person who stifles his beliefs for some greater good. Anyway, the note here of these book ideas is that I have actually started to write the first book as of sometime a couple of days ago. Granted, so far I have not written much more than a revision of something that is on some noted page already, but I couldn’t find that noted page. I an intrigued by the this idea of writing a book in a month – I am a bit late to start it for November, but I am thinking that writing a book in three months or so is a more attainable goal.

Along with new beginnings, previous chapters must come to a close. I have already noted a couple of them in passing and I am not sure if they need more notation then what exists. For instance the ex-girlfriend thing. Who were we kidding, that should have ended at least three or four years ago, possibly longer then that. And in all honesty, as I look back, I am not sure it should have been anything more than a fling. I do not say that to be hurtful, I say that to be honest. As we continued on we become more and more tied together, but lacked the basic fundamentals that one really should have in a relationship.

Another thing that is at least for now coming to an end, largely due to the end of the relationship, is my attempt to move toward a more simple existence. Yes, I am guilty as charged. I spent eighteen years getting off a farm and another eight trying to figure out how to get back to one without starving. It is possible, but it requires either a drastic change in ones lifestyle or a major outside job. Anyway, the dog and myself and one or two horses will move on to something else, but no longer will there be a plan to raise a market fresh garden or antibiotic steroid hormone free pork. Instead I will turn my focus back to maybe some contractual programming and definitely some more gentle pursuits, such as the writing.

The other thing that has already come to a close, a few weeks back, but that still has a loose end out there or two is the few women that I have seen and even had interest in of late. There have been several, but most were only a dinner or a visit here and there. There are perhaps some additional things that need to be said here, but I will save that for another blog as well.

There is also some change that is not really a new beginning, but at least a major turn in direction. I will continue the enjoyment of horses and such, but as noted, it will be on a different scale. The occasional trail ride, the occasional jousting trip, perhaps some day big pretty horse that will prance and dance and have feathers at his feet – perhaps instead a different breed of gaited horse that doesn’t have the negatives as much as the one I have been associated with to this point. I will plan on continuing with jousting, but as has been moved toward this summer, on a much more historical level, continuing toward getting a better kit, etc. Perhaps even the one thing I have always wanted to do, a bit of American Civil War re-enacting.

Now that I am rambled on for over a 1000 words, one is probably beginning to wonder what the point of this blog is. Well, at some point, fundamentally I do hope that someone will read it. For the near time though, I consider this blog more as an open journal, at this point written more for myself. Something that I can come back and have to measure myself with on occasion, mayhap, even look back in a few weeks and think what an almost love-struck fool over angel or some such. Anyway, it is something fits in well with a thought that I often have. The modern-day world of disposal is going to leave a big void, especially with those in my generation and following. You go back a bit and people wrote journals and diaries – today maybe blogging? But the big place we are going to lose, people wrote letters and they were kept. Today we get 100’s, even 1000’s of emails daily and we delete all but a very few of them. One other thing, I figure the closest thing most of us have to immortality is making a mark on society or writing something that will be referred to by future generations. Unfortunately, there are few places for most of us to make a mark on society that will be remembered much beyond the generation after us – so my attempt at immortality will be to put words down. Perhaps someday, when I make a bit of a mark with a book or something else the words will be worthwhile.

Well, now that I am getting closer to two thousand words and still have not closed, I will move that direction again. The band that is playing here is doing their first set. They are SO young – another reminder of my age. They kind of remind me of a modern Simon and Garfunkel – a little bit more edgy with some of the music – and I think it is original lyrics – which is interesting that someone so young will have such deep insight and opinions. I also think some influence of the beetles – especially the non-fluff stuff. Perhaps they are cover songs that I lack familiarity. I think the name is Dickie Haydon – though that may be the singer’s name? An interesting side note, there is a family, Mom, Dad, two daughters and son, all the children under eight is my guess, but what do I know of such things. I think it was accidental they are here, maybe not. The kids are kind of not sure about the music, but are enjoying the sweets and hot chocolate and well-behaved, especially to be in such an environment. The littlest girl in her pink coat, with the icing on her cheek and drinking the hot chocolate through a straw is cute and indeed makes me reflect on my above noted desires even more, even brings to question the why of having waiting so long and been so positive about my choice otherwise in the past.

I am going to enjoy the rest of gyro, drink more coffee, and quit being so rude to the band….