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My favorite place on the net to buy stuff. And if you use the link above to get there and buy something, I get money. How can you go wrong?

My Movie Collection
All of my DVDs, with IMDB entries for the motion pictures. If you live near me, feel free to ask to borrow a few if you want...

My Logbook
This shows all the time I have in my flying logbook, for those who might be interested in such a thing...

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The viewer part of a cool program to share desktops... Placed here for my own convenience.

Wooden Concepts
A great place to buy wooden pens, pencils, letter openers, and even MINI Cooper shift knobs!

Most recent flight in the logbook was on 2003/09/01

Mar 3, 2010 - One more class under my belt.
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I just finished my class for college called "Introduction to the New Testament", or as I call it, "Jesus class". The method of teaching was about the worst possible that I could imagine, and it annoyed me greatly. The notes for the class were basically just copying down anything that the teacher said while standing at the podium, and memorizing them word for word, or as close as possible. A couple class sessions before the tests, he passed out *ahem* study guides, which were the test questions, verbatim, and in order. If you put your notes in the same order, and memorized them well enough to regurgitate them for the test, you win.

So, Paul was a tent maker, he dictated his letters, repeated himself, digressed, and wrote the openings and closings himself. Great. There's 5 points for the test. Does it mean anything? Does it help in any meaningful way for life in the 21st century? No, except maybe I should print out emails and write "Thanks, TSgt Ward" at the end and hand deliver them, so that they can be authenticated as my writing. And then 2000 years from now, people can learn in a class about my life that I wrote to "give thanks" to other people, and used "So" to begin entirely too many paragraphs... Oh look, another point for the final test.

Now I won't say that the class was all bad. Regardless of the fact that I didn't learn much of anything useful in the class, it did encourage me to spread out my reading from purely secular stuff to some that could be considered either sacrilege or religious. The first book I read was called Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore, which dealt with the 18 years that were completely missing from the bible. Now, I will say that my Jesus class did help me with a little bit while reading this book. I learned who the Pharisees and Sadducees were, and why they (may have) treated the young Jesus the way they did. I knew who Mary of Magdalene (or Maggie as she's known in the book) was, and I got the story of the Sermon on the Mount (a collection of parables told at different times... another point on a test), and I learned that using too many parentheticals (like this) might make something harder to read. Chris Moore uses them a LOT in the book, mainly to explain things that people who haven't taken Jesus class wouldn't necessarily know.

If you are really religious, the book might not be for you. He takes some... shall we say... liberties with Jesus and how he came to lead his apostles that might be kind of off-color. I enjoyed it though, which is more than I can say for a lot of books that deal with times that are about 2000 years ago.

The other book that I bought, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, by A.J. Jacobs is interesting. He is a fairly secular Jew, who took on a quest to follow as many of the 600+ laws of the Old Testament and 10 commandments as he could, in New York City. I'm only about 2/3s of the way through the book, so I won't be able to spoil the ending. I don't think he kills or adulterates anywhere during the book, so he's good on those two at least. He spends the first 8 months of the year abiding by the Old Testament laws, including ones about tying scriptures around his arms and head, not shaving his beard, sacrificing chickens, and wearing tassels. He also visits an Amish community and Israel, to meet people who have been living biblically their whole lives. He writes the 10 commandments on his door frame, paints it with lamb blood (well, juices from his Passover dinner... close enough), and makes unleavened bread on his back. (Ew.) Between stories about freaking out people with his ultra-religious actions (Leviticus is his answer for about everything, from not shaking hands to not sitting where his wife has sat during her... um.... unclean times), he goes into some details about WHY the laws were written, which I thought was interesting, at least.

So there are the two books I read because of my Jesus class. I'm glad the class is over and done with, wish I had actually learned something useful (Oh hey, did you know that "Gospel" means "Good news"? I can totally use that to pick up chicks at a bar!) but glad that it expanded my reading past the Star Trek book of the month.

Next on my reading list? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.



Nov 26, 2009 - The one where the idiots rear end me and then drive off.
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Hi there, my devoted fans! Happy Thanksgiving, and all that jazz!

My holiday season got off to a rough start yesterday. As we were fighting to get out of the WalMart/Lowes/Michaels/Sams metroplex and onto a major street, we got stuck just outside a gridlocked intersection, and some idiot didn't see my brake lights and slammed into us. I looked into the rear view mirror, and saw a very shocked couple. When I pulled up and over to the side of the street, and as Tanya called 911, the idiot went around us and zoomed away, never to be seen from again.

We're alright, but Robin (my car, for those of you new here) needs a new rear bumper, which I estimate will cost around $2000. Insurance will pay all but $500 of that, so... there's that. Merry Christmas, body shop! You get all of our gift money. Yay!

The really really sucky bit, just from an irony standpoint, is that my last payment on Robin is on December 1. Four days from now, and she's all mine. And up until now, she's never been hurt (well, there was that one time, but anyways).

In other news, we had a couple Airmen from work over to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner tonight. Tanya did an OUTSTANDING job cooking a full many-course meal for us to enjoy. She rocks! Dinner was great, and then we played a couple games of Quirkle and Blokus, which were also great. A good time was had by all (I'm pretty sure, anyhow)

So, there's my update for the quarter or so. I really need to start writing more again. Maybe I'll make that my New Years resolution. Nah, I'd just break it within a week or two like all my others. Heh. We'll see!

Good night, folks!



Aug 14, 2009 - Autographs on my Kindle? It's more likely than you think!
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So, after seeing in various places on the web that Kindles could be laser engraved (the giant "Don't Panic" on the back seems to be the only one in the wild so far, with the Engadget contest over, there will be a few more.)

I wanted to join the ranks of people with engraved Kindles, since it seems to be a very very small subset of the also-small subset of people with Kindles. I also thought "Hmm, Sharpie ink would probably get rubbed off the back, and signing the front screen would be a very bad idea", yet I wanted some way to show off the authors who bring life to my Kindle (Brandon Sanderson would have a field day with that idea... Awakened Kindles?)

I found a local shop through a business card at hanging up in an office at work, ostensibly there to provide plaques for goings-away and award winners, but I had my own nefarious purpose in mind! So, I wrote Sotos an email, asking if it would be possible, and he agreed after seeing the first link on the page. I scanned in the autographs I had, and found a couple other sources on the web for pre-scanned autographs, copied them into a single file and cleaned them up nicely. I sent that file over to Sotos, he tweaked it a little to make it all fit on the flat part of the Kindle's back, and engraved it!

The results are great... Now, instead of just being asked "is that one of them new ebook things?" I'll also be asked "what's with all the scribblin' on the back?" I can't wait!

Here's the picture you've been waiting for... clicking on it will bring you to a bigger size version at Flickr.

engravedkindle

You can get your own Kindle from the link over there on the left. Buy some books through that link too, if you don't mind!



Aug 5, 2009 - Flight Simulator, like Microsoft only dreams of!
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Last Wednesday, I had a chance to fly in an F-15 flight simulator on base. It was pretty darn cool.

Myself and seven others showed up at the simulator building, and after a short Q&A session about AFCEA, we were all issued visitor badges and escorted to a briefing room. We got to see a little movie about how cool the system is and how amazingly realistic the training is, as provided by Boeing. It was obviously a sales tool to get more funding for the simulators, but it did a good job of showing off the communication links between Langley and other bases that allow for cross-training between different types of aircraft, different pilots, and different capabilities (AWACS controlling simulated F-15s and F-22s, etc..)

After the video, we got a quick briefing about what our “mission” would be. We would start off in the air, a few miles behind a flight consisting of a KC-10, an F-4, an F-16, and a MIG of some sort. Once we caught up to them (since they would all be matching speed with the tanker, we could go much faster), we were supposed to simulate refueling by getting really close to the boom at the tail of the tanker, matching speed to within a single knot, and slooooooowly crawling forward putting the end of the boom over our left shoulder, where the refueling port on the F-15 is. After “refueling”, we were to drop back a little bit, take aim at one or more of the escort jets, and blow them out of the sky with our main gun. (100 rounds a second, rawr!) After practicing flying and shooting, we would be getting close to Langley AFB, and come in for a landing on runway 08.

During the briefing, we were asked if anyone had any “real” flying experience. I was the only one who raised my hand, so I was selected to go first, and everyone else could watch from the instructor area. They could see an over-the-shoulder camera of me, digital representations of the instrument panel, and an overhead map of the simulated area, including all other aircraft, and points of interest on the map (the James River, Langley, and Newport News Airport, to name a few.)

Since I was first, I had no idea what to expect. There were two real F-15 pilots on hand to look over shoulders of the people who were flying at the time. My overwatch was a LtCol with the callsign “Yoda”… I don’t remember his real name. Doh! Anyways, he showed me how to climb into the simulator’s seat, pointed out the instruments that I would be using (altimeter, speedometer, bank indicator) and showed me where weapon displays would be, if they weren’t turned off. (All of the missile systems are classified, which is why all we had was the main gun). He pointed out the throttle, which were two handles that we were supposed to treat as one for the purposes of the exercise, with a whole bunch of switches on the side that he would worry about (for flaps and airbrake).

Once I was ready to go, the simulator started. There was no actual movement; it wasn’t like one of the thrill rides with hydraulics shoving me around. The computer screens made a full frontal, top, and side view out of the cockpit though. If there wasn’t someone over my shoulder, the back of the simulator could also close and project what was going on back there, to give full 360 degree views. So I first got used to using the throttle, making tiny motions to change airspeed, and caught up to the flight after just a couple minutes. I think I came the closest of anyone to “refueling”, putting the tanker’s boom right over my shoulder and holding it there for a good 2 seconds. After that I peeled off, and dropped thrust to idle, and took aim at one of the small jets, and shot it down with about 1/2 a second of firing. I missed the second plane I was aiming for, and had to go around for a second try. The pilot over my shoulder told me to turn the jet on its side, and pull up to turn around… Nah, that’s just silly talk. A Cessna can do that! So, I pushed throttle to full, and pulled back on the stick until I was inverted, then twisted sideways until I was right side up again, and dropped throttle. Got one of the planes under the crosshairs, and ka-pow!

By this time, I was approaching the James River, and it was time to land. I could see the landing lights in the distance, so knew I was more-or-less lined up, followed instructions for dropping airspeed and altitude, and brought in my simulator for a landing. I was just slightly off the centerline, but good enough… the instructor wanted to know if I knew where the brakes were… I responded by braking. (: Soo… that’s a yes!

Once I came to a complete stop, the simulation ended, and I got out on shaky legs. Despite the fact that I knew it was just a sim, I landed an F-15!

I sat back in the instructor room, and watched everyone else fly, thinking of things that I wish I had thought to try while I was still in the seat (8-point-rolls, chief among them)… Oh well. One guy rammed the tanker while trying to refuel, another one crashed into the jet he was shooting at, and a third crashed into the runway. All in all though, we did well at it…

Flying such a realistic simulator has renewed my interest in flying. I checked out the aero club here on base, and their estimation of the cost to get a license is around $10,000… Which is about $9,900 more than I can realistically afford. Doh. Maybe I could get a sponsor? Anyone know anyone out there who wants to make a pilot out of me yet? (:



Jun 18, 2009 - Horray!
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Line number 3069.

That is all. (:



Oct 8, 2008 - Quarterly Report
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Hello, my devoted fans! (and anyone else who stumbled on my site looking for pigeon cage cleaner...

The past few months have been pretty good for me. I've finally gotten around to earning my Community College of the Air Force degree, which will be formally awarded on October 14th (next Wednesday). I've also started going back to college to work on my BS degree. My first term, I took 20th Century World History and Integrated Arts. Both of these classes had really cool teachers, and I learned a lot from both of them. In the upcoming term, I'll be taking Integrated Physical Science and Human Behavior. That should be a good mix of left brain/right brain activity to keep me from getting bored or burned out. (:

I also placed in the top three in the annual "Sensor Olympics" that is put on by the Air Force ISR Agency. You can read more about it here. The jist of it, though, is that I get to go down to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX, and learn about the Agency's mission and where it's headed and stuff from the commander and senior enlisted people. Tanya gets to go too. (: It should be a good time, even though it does break my promise to never go back to Texas. Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do, sometimes!

I've finally gotten involved in the whole "Web 2.0" thing. I have a Twitter account (Kredal, of course), as well as my Flickr account (also Kredal, of course), and if those things don't make any sense to you, that's ok. They are barely comprehensible to me, and I'm SMRT. I guess the point of Twitter is to keep people updated on what you've been doing, but using less than like 130 characters to do it. Write short and write often... Which, given my update frequency here at Kredal.com, doesn't seem very likely to me. Flickr is the photo-sharing place... maybe they should find someone to share an "e" with them. Oh well.

My WoW addiction has been waaaaaay down lately. There just aren't enough hours in the day, what with class 4 days a week, work 5 days, sleep 7 days, etc. I think in the past month, I might have logged maybe 10 hours, total. A couple new games came out too, which didn't help. I got a free month on Age of Conan at Dragoncon, complete with in-game goodies. Unfortunately, my gaming computer has a super-sucky video card, and it's only AGP, so none of the new non-sucky video cards will fit in it. So I get about 5 frames per second. My free month of that ran out a few days ago, and I was like level 6 or 7 or something totally lame like that.

Warhammer Online went live this month too. I actually bought it, and thought I might be able to play it, even though my system specs (again, video card) was just under the required specs... Ha! They didn't inflate them at all. I get somewhere around 4 frames per second on that game, which makes it pretty much ... er, completely unplayable. Waste of money, until I waste MORE money to upgrade my computer. And with the economy the way it is? Fat chance. At least I can still play WoW. When I have time. (Which brings us back to do!)

I think that's about it. Worth waiting for? Doubt it. Let me know in a comment! Please? (:



Jul 18, 2008 - A year later...
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So, it's been more than a year (even though it was only three posts ago) that I joked about getting an iPhone, and now I really do have one! It's very nice, and does everything I want it to, with one tiny exception that isn't really worth going into yet.

So far, I've been loving it. Much easier to use than my old Treo 650.

One of the primary uses I have for it is as an e-book reader. I was very happy when they announced that the eReader software had been ported to it. The screen is much higher quality than my Treo, and roughly twice as big, which means more text per page turn, which means faster reading. I always have my cell phone on me (except at work, in a secure facility) and it's much more convienent than hardcover, or even paperback books.

I don't use my phone much for actual calling, but I use it for everything else that the iPhone excels at. Playing games while waiting for planes, doctors, etc; browsing the web to look up stuff, listening to music while working out, messaging Tanya to say I'm on my way home, and even the new GPS capabilities once or twice.

So other than that, what's new? Well, I've re-enlisted for 4 years. There are LOTS of pictures up from it at Flickr.com along with LOTS and LOTS of pictures from my sister's wedding a week later. Tanya and I were regular shutterbugs. (:

It was really nice seeing so many family members at the wedding and stuff. Was almost like a family reunion! We should do that again some time, except we'd have to find someone else to get married, since now both Jen and I are taken. Any suggestions?

Oh, right. If you want my new phone number (the old number was stupidly innundated by people looking for "Boo" who didn't know his number started with 210 and not 310) drop me a line at kredal @ gmail.com and let me know who you are, and I'll give it to you. Especially of you also give me your phone number in exchange. That's only fair, right?

The one exception to "everything I want it to do", it doesn't allow for custom ringtones when I get SMS's. There is a short list of sounds and beeps and things I can use, but that's it.

Until it's hacked like the old version, at least. Yay hackers!



May 27, 2008 - Still Alive
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That was a triumph
So it's been nine months since I've posted anything here. Wow. And nobody has said anything in the comments here or anything. So unloved! *sniffle*

We do what we must because we can
Since August, I've been moved to another workcenter here, where I'm basically a helpdesk monkey. I manage a network of roughly 40 Solaris boxes, 30 Windows boxes, and a bunch of servers that do all kinds of fun stuff. It's a good job, and I'm learning a lot about different operating systems. Whee.

Now these points of data make a beautiful line
I just passed my PT test! Woo! Two years in a row! Woo hoo! Yes, I know, it's the "Chair Force" PT test, but it's still a challenge for me, mostly cause I have a big gut. Thanks, Chair Force! (:

Anyway this cake is great
My sister is getting married next month. Since I most likely won't post again here before then, I thought I'd mention it. Tanya and I are driving to Ohio for the wedding. "Isn't gas too expensive," you say... But it's cheaper than flying. With the MINI, we're looking at about $150 in gas to get there and back, at $4.00 per gallon. Flying Airtran, it would cost $600 for both of us, and would take almost as long to get there, what with airport security, a layover in Atlanta, and then a drive from Akron to Willoughby... oh, and we'd need a rental car too, which would cost even more. So ya, driving my own car.

Look at me still talking when there's science to do
Well, not science, but work. Which I have to get back to. Just thought I'd give a shout out...

Oh, and if you know what all the italicized lines are from, you probably have a song stuck in your head now. If not, look up "Still Alive" on YouTube. Anything with Portal or John Coulton in the description will do. And prepare to have a song stuck in your head. Muahahaha



Aug 25, 2007 - I am so smart! S-M-R-T!
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(Title from The Simpsons of course.)

Anyways, recently someone at work made the suggestion that everyone on the shift should go take the Mensa qualification exam. So I did the legwork, found a contact address, got the test date information, made sure everyone knew when and where it was, and I was the only one who showed up. I took the test (which seemed easy to me...) and I guess I scored in the top 2 percent, cause they want me to join!

Actually joining Mensa doesn't get you much that I'm interested in, with the exception of 10% of at Office Depot, and $10 off any order of $40 or more at Thinkgeek which works for me... it's where I get most of my funny t-shirts. It also gives me bragging rights, and a card that says I'm officially smrt. (:

In other news, I was one of the first people in my squadron to pick up a set of the new ABU uniforms the Air Force is going to. It's very heavy compared to the summer-weight uniforms I've been wearing. I think it'd be too hot for the desert, but for the nice cold server room I work in, it's not bad. I like the fact that it's wash and wear... never have to take it to the dry cleaners! Yay! I have a picture of me wearing it somewhere... I'll get it uploaded here today or something.

In other other news, Metroid comes out for the Wii on Tuesday! I can't wait!

Well, I guess I can. And have to. Bummer.

So that's what's new with me. What's new with you?



Jul 1, 2007 - I got my iPhone!
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Tanya let me get an iPhone this weekend. Check out the picture of me holding my brand new "convergance" device here.

OK, so, not really. Oh well. (: Maybe when the second gen comes around, I'll be able to get one.

So, news in my life.. (Why you're here, right?) Well, I'm working on a website for the guy who did my car's graphics, Steve Puckett. Basically just showing off what kinds of stuff he can do... some of the bikes are really impressive. Vinyl isn't meant to bend around corners like that!

I just started back on mid-shifts tonight, so that's fun... at least I'll be able to spend more time with Tanya now.. I'll actually be home when she gets off work. (: Horray!

I didn't make tech sergeant this year. Missed it by 7.34 points... even though I tested REALLY well (top 2 percent of my career field!), I just don't have the time in grade/service to make it. Maybe next year! *Crosses fingers*

Anyways, that's the major new stuff with me. What's up with you? Leave a comment, drop me a line, whatever. (: Oh ya, and sign up to get notification in email, if you haven't already. It's really easy, and it gives me more excuses to write!



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