Thursday, December 24, 2015

Track Santa!

NORAD tracks Santa.

Back when I was in the radar biz we used to do this sort of thing locally, for the families of the guys at the radar sites where I was stationed. Back in the day every radar site had a video mapping device that fed programmed exercise video to Operations; the normal output from the video mapper was "canned" and consisted of video blips simulating actual aircraft. On Christmas Eve we'd load up a special video overlay and route it to the intercept control scopes in Operations. While "exercise" video consisted of fake bogeys (simple blips) and tracks to train intercept controllers and technicians, the special Santa video showed a sleigh and reindeer on the scopes. Not nearly real, but real enough for the kids that saw it!

The kids always got a big thrill out of the radar displays. Doing the Santa video was one of the most fun things I ever did while I was a radar guy.

Updated on 12/25/2005 0215: correct typos and grammar plus add a small amount of content. I shouldn't post after I've been into the egg nog!

Reposted December 24th, 2015... I distinctly remember being one of those kids that saw radar overlays and thinking how cool my dad was cuz he could track Santa.

I hope all "Exile" readers have a warm, safe and very Merry Christmas. 

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

My dad's favorite carol... repost from Christmas eve, 2013.

It don't get no better than that.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Time keeps on ticking...

Benjamin Franklin was a wise man... he said many profound things; a few examples below

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

"In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria."

"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75."

"Dost thou love life?  Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of." (my favorite!)

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us  to be happy." (possibly my father's favorite... despite being somewhat agnostic about religion)

Time is said to heal all wounds... but after a year without my father, I can't imagine ever being well again, not like before.  I spent some time today reading blogs my father visited... and I found some peace in the posts I read; I always worried my father was alone in Portales. But today I realized he had so many wonderful friends that he shared his passion for life with... you all (if you're reading this... you are VERY likely in the group I'm referring to) brought joy and purpose to my father's life. For that, I'm truly and immeasurably thankful.

I added a couple of pics of my Dad with a couple of his favorite motorcycles... or rather mo'sickles.

My brother and I intended to keep the blog going... and more quotes come to mind; the road to hell among the first.  My mother (TFMP) would often say, (when my brother or I asked where she was going) "To hell if I don't change my ways!"  So I am making a resolution to change my ways and begin posting here... I know I can't compare to my father's writing, so I won't even try to do that... my commitment will be to re-post favorite posts of his and to write about things that remind me of him or reflect his colorful personality.

I hope you are all well, warm and enjoyed my brief post... I promise there will be more to come.  In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!


Monday, February 23, 2015

Things remembered...

I received my copy of "Road and Track" over the weekend.  The article comparing the new 2015 Chevyy SS and a classic BMW M5 immediately caught my eye.  Dad often said if he had a million bucks (non pun intended), he'd drive an M5.  A little background is in order here... one of dad's favorite cars was his 1983 BMW 320i, similar to the one below...

 Another favorite of Dad's was his 1996 Impala SS... when this car first appeared as a concept vehicle, one of the car magazines wrote a wonderful article that stated "Lord Vader, your car is ready."  Very appropriate, given the car was only available in black its first year of production and had a Vette motor and equally impressive handling upgrades.
So knowing my father had an affinity for Super Sport Chevys (he also owned a 1966 Chevelle SS with a 396 big block) and BMW's... I was immediately drawn to the comparison.  The article, like most in Road and Track, is very well written and conveys more than the numbers.  It succeeds in placing the reader in both cars as they drive down a foggy highway along the coast of California and with colorful descriptive language like "all that voodoo between its fenders..." it's a quick and enjoyable read.

Articles like this take me back to conversations with my father... about cars, motorcycles and other pleasures in life that enabled him to live a very interesting life.  I learned a lot from my father, but the life lesson I enjoyed the most and continue to enjoy, is to drive a car that makes me feel alive.  I will always own a car that I love to drive... life's too short not to.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

It's hard some days...

Watching the Beloved Red Wings was a past time shared by Dad and I. We would spend time together (virtually) watching the games and calling each other after good guy goals and wouldn't call when the bad guys scored. We'd talk about the team, player interviews, Don Cherry's ridiculous suits and ties and anything Red Wings related. If the Wings were obviously going to lose, one or the other would pick up the phone to say "Alright, I'm done, don't bother calling me if you stick with it." If it was a close one the understanding was we wouldn't call if we lost. No point in that! We'd just pick up at the next game. There were even a few superstitions we shared about when the Wings or the other team would score. We would call each other quickly after each goal, lest the other team get the chance to answer with one of their own and cut off our chance to talk to each other. Most of our calls ended with a phrase like "Alright, call you when we go up by two!" if we were leading by one or "Call you when we tie this up" if we were trailing by one. So many phrases were standard we would say them together at the same time, like: "There's still a lot of hockey left!" which was an interchangeable phrase used both when we were down or up. One of Dad's favorites when we were up by more than a goal was his emphatic exhortation to finish out strong: "Skate to the throat!"

Our Wings are doing well right now and I miss being able to call him after a goal. More than a few times I've reached for the phone after a goal, only to catch myself and stop. It's a sad feeling that.

The first game after arriving back home from saying goodbye to Dad was especially hard. I watched most of it through teary eyes and when the Wings won, I broke down and cried. Won't ever be able to share that post game celebration phone call with him again and it hurts.

Apologies for the sporadic and limited posting. We will strive to improve.

Just know gentle reader, that he's in our thoughts daily and is with us wherever we go.

The plan for his ash-spreading soiree is slowly coming together. More to follow on that.

Until then, please hoist an occasional toast and think of him fondly.

And cheer for our Beloved Wings!!


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

We said we'd keep it going. We will...

Many have asked about services for Dad. Sam and I are working out our plan.

You see, for those of you that know Dad at all, you know he was a particular kinda guy with a particular kind of style. Style, Dad had in abundance!

His wishes were to be cremated and have his ashes spread in various locales across the globe. These favorite places would require a small fortune to get to in a short amount of time, being the world traveler that he was, so for now, we're going to stick to the CONUS (continental US, for those of you not familiar with the military vernacular) locations for the beginning of his services.

This could be a party that lasts a decade!

Just so you know, Dad mentioned places like a favorite pub in London, a bar in Japan, New Orleans during Mardi Gras and a national park in California.

We will compile the list and hopefully begin to comply with his wishes as soon as practical.

Meanwhile, please feel free to visit old posts and leave comments as you wish. We are monitoring comments and working out a plan on how to best keep his blog alive.