Wandering Minstrel Eleventh Blogiversary

skull-punisher.gifIt’s been a couple of months and a few days since the Wandering Minstrel Site went down with some sort of WordPress file corruption. Troubleshooting with the website host was to no avail and I tried a complete reload of the WordPress files which also did not help. Unfortunately, we are going to have to terminate the internet hosting and the URLs associated with the old site.

Today would have been the eleventh year of being on the net with the Minstrel site. We originally started that blog to serve as our primary pro second amendment presence in the blogosphere. The pro 2A function will now be restored to Cap’n Bob & the Damsel.

As for the Minstrel site, we have been going through some of the old uploads accessible via FTP and downloading them to a safe place on our terabyte drive. The files being rescued are mostly images and a few other scripts and files we developed during the Minstrel days.

So, on this eleventh blogiversary, we will no longer be talking much about the Minstrel and that site now relegated to cyber history. If we discover some pertinent images or files of note, we may repost them here, if warranted. Adios to the Minstrel! SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM!

Comments (2)

Mikey Turns One

Boys and the Alphabet Train

Our youngest great grandchild, Mikey, had his first birthday yesterday. We sent him a birthday package via USPS and our granddaughter took this picture of him playing with his new toy set. It is a V-Tech Sit to Stand Alphabet Train. Here’s the detail on the educational toy:

  • Push toy is designed to grow with your child; the toy train can be used as a floor toy, a ride on that also transforms into a baby walker or a pull toy wagon they can fill with toys
  • Learning toy comes with 10 activities including a storybook, clock, gears; 13 double-sided alphabet blocks build fine motor skills and introduce letters, numbers, colors and more
  • For toddler role-play toy fun, the included Walkie-Talkie and number pad encourage role-play and introduce numbers and animals; counting toy plays more than 100 songs, melodies, sounds and phrases
  • Toy train counts the alphabet blocks when they’re dropped down the chute; kids story book teaches sing-along songs and plays melodies
  • Educational toy is intended for toddlers ages 1 to 3 years old

Anna, our eldest granddaughter and mother of the boys, sent us the above photo of Mikey and older brother Alex with the train toy. She also sent a video of Mikey putting blocks in the top of the toy and it responds by playing sounds and music. Damsel and I both got a kick out of that.

Thank God for our being able to see the kids as they grow up via electronic media.

Comments (4)

Ham Radio Vanity Callsign Bonanza Day

vanity-bonanza.jpg

For whatever reason, a large number of desirable amateur radio callsigns will become available tomorrow, November 5, 2018. The callsigns available are shown in the screenshot from the RadioQTH website. I have only shown the 1×2 and 2×1 calls designated for the amateur extra class licensees. There are 164 1×2 and 24 2×1 calls becoming available.

Since I am only interested in 1×2 calls with the numeral 7 in them, I will only apply for those tomorrow. The FCC vanity application allows for a list of up to 25 callsigns in order of preference. I have already made up a spreadsheet for the calls I intend to select. The order I chose was based on three criteria: 1) CW weight, or the length of time it takes to send the call using Morse code, 2) Phonetic weight, or the number of syllables to articulate the callsign in voice modes using the international phonetic alphabet and 3) my own parochially assigned likeability for a callsign.

Fortunately, there are enough 1×2 calls in the seventh callsign area to allow me to completely fill in the 25 available slots in the FCC application. For most of the calls available, there will be a tremendous amount of competition. Wish me luck.

11/05/2018 UPDATE: Here’s my list. Click on the image to enlarge.

Callsigns

Comments (4)

What’s for Dinner?

Low Carb Dinner

The answer to the title question is: a low carbohydrate dinner consisting of grilled Filet Mignon steaks, sautéed mushrooms, bacon-collard greens and mashed fauxtatoes. The fake potatoes were actually mashed cauliflower with cream cheese, butter, garlic, salt and pepper. The meal and all its components were quite tasty and enjoyable.

Damsel and I are now on a low carbohydrate dining regimen and the total carbs for this meal as prepared were a little less than ten grams. The steak has zero grams, the mushrooms about two grams, the cauliflower six grams and the collard greens under two grams. Since we’re on a low carbohydrate diet, we’re not counting fat and protein, although we like to have lots of fiber.

About the diet: we’re not going to strictly count carbohydrates as I did for this meal, but rather keep an eye on what ingredients might be high in carbs and avoid or limit them or substitute them with something low carb. There is plenty of on-line help to make the dietary information for most ingredients and some recipes readily available.

Over the last week, we have been easing ourselves into revised eating habits and this weekend we prepared both main meals with the diet in mind. We’re just getting started and already we’re noticing subtle changes to our bodies.

Comments off

Cowboy Classic Ford Pickup

Cowboy Classic

Earlier today, Damsel and I were at the clinic where I had a follow up appointment for a blood test I took earlier this month. On the way out of the parking lot, Damsel took this photo of a classic mid-50’s Ford stepside pickup truck all decked out cowboy style with saddle and rope. Wickenburg is big into rodeo, especially the team roping event and this cowboy’s rigs suggest he is one of ‘em.

The appointment at the clinic was with my nephrologist (kidney doc). We actually saw the doctor’s Nurse Practitioner who analyzed my lab results which show that the kidney functions are currently “good enough.” That’s good to know that I won’t be needing dialysis or a Kidney transplant anytime soon. She forecast that with my numbers the probability is that I wouldn’t be needing any of that until I’m 120 years old.

Comments off

Lifestyle Change - Diet in Particular

Chicken over Cauliflower Rice

Ever since Damsel retired about 20 years ago, we have enjoyed preparing delicious meals on the weekends. She runs the kitchen while I run the smoker and grill. Occasionally, I help in the kitchen (sous chef role) with meat cutting and grinding or with shredding cheese and other kitchen helper labors of love. Thus far, we have been able to prepare just about anything we see in a recipe or on the TV cooking and food channels or on internet social media.

A few weeks ago, Damsel went for her regular annual session with the family doctor. He checked her over and pronounced all the vitals to be within limits - however, he wanted her to get some routine blood work done. Her initial report was that triglycerides were a bit too high and the doctor prescribed another more specific blood test. The results from that test indicated a marginally high blood glucose level, also known as pre-diabetes.

The doctor’s advice was to change her diet to cut down on carbohydrate intake. Well, damn! just about all of our favorite foods are laden with carbs. We did some research on low-carb diets and actually found some literature on understanding the pre-diabetic condition and preparing meals with low carbohydrate counts. We also found other sites with recipes and information, one of which had the photo above of a “Garlic Butter Chicken with Parmesan Cauliflower Rice” recipe. It looks pretty good, no?

So, we’re both going on a low-carb diet. No more potatoes (and most other starchy root veggies), pasta ( :( ), bread, pastries. fruit and a host of other goodies with high carbohydrate content. The only good news is that un-prepared meats of all kinds have zero carbs. Her diet will be to reduce blood sugar and mine will be to lose the 15-20 lbs that the doc has suggested.

Between a couple of low-carb cookbooks and websites like the one linked above, we should be able to prepare delicious food for our diets. In any event, we will not be denied wholesome, tasty meals just because of reduced carbs.

Comments (5)

Ham Radio Vanity Callsign Quest

Amateur Callsign Regions

Image: Amateur Radio Callsign Regions - Click to enlarge.

Since we have escaped from California and now live in the 7th call area (the free state of Arizona), I am trying to dump the 2×1 6th area (California) callsign in favor of a K/N/W7×2 vanity call. As of today, I’m 0 for 19 tries with one vanity application still pending. I am hoping to have a new 7th area callsign by the end of 2018.

This post is actually a continuation of a series started on the Minstrel a while back. Those posts are currently inaccessible via HTTP but somewhat accessible to me via FTP. More on that as things progress.

The process of getting a Vanity Callsign is fairly simple. You apply for an account sign-in on the FCC ULS (Universal Licensing System) and apply for your vanity callsign there. A couple of sources to see what calls are available are Radio QTH Vanity Calls and AE7Q Query Tools. Either of these sites provide which calls are available and much more.

The competition is quite intense when applying for these popular callsigns, hence the lack of success as mentioned in the first paragraph. I have seen the odds vary from 68:1 down to 4:1 over the nineteen unsuccessful tries. The probability for success of my current application for W7EC is 5.56% with seventeen other competitors. All applications received for a given vanity call are electronically tossed into a hat and a random winner selected.

I will post updates to this effort as time progresses. Wish me luck.

Comments (15)

« Previous entries