Zariah

The radiance of Zariah

I counted all the stars in the sky

But none shone as bright as you

Golden hair like wheat grains

And a voice that rings like diamonds

Open the doors to your heart

Show me your radiance

That may forever shield me from the lost darkness

It’s Over

It was nice knowing you
But now that I know the truth
We can never see each other again
Because of the safety issues
The walls came crashing down
Those skeletons came out of the closet
I really thought you were a catch
But I was naïve and void of knowledge
And know that I know the truth
I can finally forget and let you go
I might spot you in another life
Twenty, thirty years who knows
We’ll just nod and go our separate ways
Not wanting to start anything anew
It was nice knowing you again
I’ll always have that perfect first memory of you

Going to Kansas

The train is moving again. The glorious sounds of the engine meshing with the blurring of the landscape as the Amtrak rushes, backwards from my seat position, through the countryside of Michigan, the lush forests, farms, and hills of an old land that reflects the early days of the state and even the country, when cities were few and far.

We’re packed up and ready for another trip down to Olathe, Kansas. This would be the 5th or 6th time that the family is headed down to the Heartland to see the youngest sister and her significant other, the first time being in the summer of 2014 when we visited the University of Kansas. Kansas is still quite new to us as we have only scratched the surface of it, having only been near the border cities and not into the deep part of the state.

The conductor checked my ticket again today, as he always does, scanning it and giving it back to me where I place it back in the top compartment of my luggage bag.

Because of Kansas, I get the song “Dust in the Wind” playing in my head, and eventually on my computer. It is a song symbolizing our short time on this earth, that in the end we are just made up of earth stuff, living our lives and then being recycled back into the environment, continuing the cycle. We rent a period of time here to do as much as we can, to explore and learn about our history and what is beyond our imagination. The band is actually from Topeka, Kansas and released “Dust in the Wind” in 1977. The title comes from a passage in the Bible by Ecclesiastes:

I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man on earth, and I concluded:

Everything he has accomplished is futile — like chasing the wind!

In the end, everything we do, all the money we may or may not have, doesn’t matter one little bit, because all of it doesn’t go with us. The only thing we can hold onto are our hopes and dreams and to believe that there is more to life than just living and dying.

It sure is a big break from me playing video games for many hours straight, only getting up once in a while to eat something or use the facilities. I’ve become so addicted to playing Batman: Arkham Knight, the explosive finale in the Arkham series of games. Probably one of the best games I’ve played in a while, besides Skyrim, which is why I’ve had a hard time putting it down, because there is so much to see and do. From what I know so far, near 90% completion of the game, it is the ending stories of several high profile criminals in Gotham, and they all get locked up in prison, though I’m not sure yet if they escape or get released by some outside help.

For now, I continue to listen to the train’s whistle as it rumbles down the track. The usual route is stopping in Chicago at Union Station and then taking a bus to Wisconsin, but that is not the case this time. It will be a longer train ride to Lawrence, Kansas, going through a lot of flat farmland in Illinois and Missouri. It sure is a lot better than driving down there, which is what we did the first time, staring at boring scenery for hours and hours, but I remember it fondly and cherish every moment of it.

Lush

New Year’s Eve

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The time has come again

To put a ribbon on the year

Closing it out strong

One more shout, one more cheer

You know when January rolls around

That the aspirations will ring true

Going for those dreams again

Because nothing will stop you

So gather up your folks

It’s an event for the ages

Here’s to making it count

And continuing to write the pages

The Guy on the Train

Image result for amtrak train

Good evening, everyone.

It’s been a great two day holiday in Wisconsin with Liz, Shaun, and Jace, but it’s time to go home now, back to normalcy, back to my usual 300 something day lifestyle. The cheese that is made right here in Wisconsin on the many farms simply out bests “regular” cheese by big name brands.

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With over four hours of Christmas music playing on YouTube that was projected via HDMI on the television, the lot of us opened up gifts and played some Apples to Apples (an updated version). Ate at the rustic Texas Roadhouse for dinner beforehand (where it is normal to drop your cracked peanut shells on the floor). I ordered a sirloin steak and grilled shrimp combo with Caesar Salad and mashed potatoes on the side, along with a frothy white margarita with a lime wedge on the edge.

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I’m on the Amtrak train now heading due northeast towards Michigan, this time sitting in the seat that is in the opposite direction the train is moving. It’s a peaceful journey through the Midwest, the choo choo sound of the train’s engine a great reminder of how trains are still a classic way to travel. The view outside my window is all dark now with the occasional train racing past in the opposite direction that my train is going. The air is cool in the compartment and the car gently rattles on the track. Riding the train has become one of my favorite ways to travel now, obliterating my idea that the travel method was all but obsolete compared to faster ways.

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There are 19 days left until Christmas and then all of this holiday bonanza and anticipation simply vanishes, the down spiraling crescendo often anticlimactic and underwhelming to say the least.

Diamond Jubilee

The luck of the spin
The chance of the draw
How will you win
Win, win, win it all
It’s your big day
So play to heart’s content
May the odds be in your favor
Make a big dentslots

You must be careful though
Not to lose it all
‘Cuz it’s easy to get addicted
And suffer a great fall
So hope to win a lot but
Stop when your luck plummets
And best of all have fun
At the happy gambler’s summit

So I went to the FireKeepers casino for the second time this year with my family, now an experienced vet of the gambling floor. Once again, finding the one machine I previously used (that was offering a good pay out ratio) was nearly impossible as the sea of slot machines was a navigational nightmare. The Diamond Jubilee slot machine was the winner today, with ten free spins coming after hitting three Jubilee spots on the machine and a continuous stream of wins coming out that made me stay there for about an hour. That greatly helped me build up my win total to nearly twenty dollars before I started losing some of it and cashed out. Yeah, I played a careful conservative game again, not quite up there with blue haired old ladies who would spend money all day at the slots, having nothing to lose. It’s always a thrill when you get on a sudden hot streak but a major let down when it suddenly ends and you should either cash out or end up with less than you started with.

Careful

Harvest Moon 2016

The full moon was out tonight, known as the Harvest Moon in September. I caught some pictures of it with the camera of my Sony Handycam. There was also a lunar eclipse but it was only seen in Africa, Asia, and Australia. The moon looks basically the same as any other full moon but just in a slightly different location in the sky.

Click on the pictures for a better look.

9/11 at 15

WTC+Bodies+Hitting+Ground | 9 11 Bodies:

Another year has come to remember the ghosts of our pasts. The 15th anniversary of 9/11 is more historical than ever, more rooted in mystery and awe. The real superheroes of that fateful day were the firefighters and other brave people who went into the buildings to try to save the ones that were trapped. It’s good that 15 years later we still stop to remember the events that shook the country for at least a month. Just today, I have seen the horrific pictures taken shortly after the attacks, coming across them on a search for images from 9/11. I’m interested in watching the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” about the 10 year hunt for bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks. It’s supposed to be a true account of the events with of course some creative liberties taken by the director.

Superhero, Stump

 

Starting Fresh Once Again

And here we go again…a new set of keys…a new motivation to go forth and be better.

I’ve just bought a new Dell Inspiron 15 computer from Best Buy, home of the Geek Squad. My previous machine had really been through the ringer. The charging port was broken and wouldn’t charge anymore and the lid had broken off its hinge again. More importantly though was the recent development of a piece of crypto malware that had locked me out and demanded I call a number and pay a certain amount of money to access my computer again. There was no way I was going to get past that annoying screen without some technical knowledge. Every password I entered into the box, even my login one, resulted in an “Access Denied” message along with the matching sound effect often heard in cartoons and action flicks.

Well, of course I was smart enough to look up the problem instead of falling for the ransom trick. That led me to downloading a program that was supposed to circumnavigate this piece of malware posing as an official message from the FBI/government. There was at least hope that my old computer would be saved and I’d be back to uploading pictures of yummy otter pops.

But the HitmanPro.kickstarter software so toted as the savior proved to not be the answer to kicking the ransomware out of the way (failing to even boot from the USB) and so other methods had to be taken, all of which proved worthless as well. So after numerous attempts to fix the problem, even calling the original manufacturer for support, I finally gave up and decided to dish out a couple hundred bucks for a brand new system. This new one is a lot thinner and lighter than the Toshiba brand I had been using for about 3 years. It feels more durable and less prone to falling apart after being moved around a lot. The keys are smoother and feel like air under my fingers while the touchpad glides with ease and doesn’t stick like my previous PC. After all these years of using a computer, it still never gets old of feeling like the new machine is your new best friend and the previous retired one is suddenly a second hand item that has lost its luster.

Learning

How I Met Your Mother

So the story of how my dad met my mom is a fairly simple one with no fancy frills or bells and whistles, but the way it has been told to me can be fairly confusing because various parts of the story always change. It involves a newspaper ad, a boxed lasagna meal, a mustache, dog, and some rather business like ideas. Just like the show’s nine seasons, a real life journey to meet the mother of the eventual children in question has a lot of twist and turns and ultimate choices that impact the outcome. And sometimes the eventual outcome is bittersweet compared to the crazy adventures beforehand.

Now, unlike Ted from the show, my dad never really had a rich dating life before he met the Mrs. to be. Shortly after he graduated from university, the groom to be put an ad in the newspaper looking to find a match. It was this blind date service and this was way before online dating was even a thing, like 1985. The bride to be answered the phone number provided there and got a hold of the person on the other end.

Now the guy in question, my future dad, didn’t know how to cook so a box of Stouffer’s ready made lasagna was substituted for a homemade meal. No one could tell the difference though, not even my future mom, not even his mom.

My dad sported a big mustache back then and always wore a suit coat and tie and carried a briefcase. Well, one day while he was out to meet my mother’s mother, he hung his expensive suit coat on the stair banister. That seemed like a swell idea until the dog named Putzie went and lifted his leg and peed on it.

What followed next was a cruise and some other details.

Confusing