Sunday, September 27, 2015

Learning, Loving, Laboring

I really want to talk about what I've been learning. It's hard right now, because I'm sure it would take a good solid hour to type everything I'm thinking all out. It's coming. I've been learning about enumerables in C# and .net, and some things are boggling my mind. I have however gained a new understanding of the beauty and readability curly braces lend to properly developed code. There's an important lesson in this chapter, I don't want it to escape, I'll comeback to this thought later...

Right now, I'm up late because I got home from work, ate a snack, and got to work telling my wife I love her in a way that makes sense to her. At least I'm trying to do that. I want to speak my love into my actions every day. It's not always comfortable, but it is often rewarding.

There's aspects of my job I love, and others I don't love. I try to adapt every shift to what's demanded of me, and to learn some tidbit that will make my job easier. What I learned tonight: If someone is determined to do as little work as possible, they're not checking to see if they make mistakes.
We'll see how that goes Monday.

I'm going to bed.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Just When Somethings Start Going Right....

Other things start going better, and the first thing you were working on starts getting put off.

I've got about half a post written for the W3EDP antenna. Usually I get an article done sometime during the month of May about the W3EDP, but I don't think it will be ready by tomorrow. Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary, so I think blogging will be low on the priority list of things to do. I'll get it done during June, before Field Day, because hey, the W3EDP would make an awesome last minute field day antenna for someone out there, and they'll need to know how to make it, and how other people have used them. I have, however, been fairly radio-active recently, last week, I had two days of QSOs, and I had 7 total QSOs, this week I haven't been as active, but that's because something has been consuming all my time.

I've been studying C# like mad, preparing for an interview to be held this Thursday. As of right now, I'm in virgin territory in my book, covering things I didn't get to when I first picked this up back in February. If I win this job, I'll have most evenings and weekends off. I'll be salaried, but hopefully making more money than I am now.

We shall see.

Other news:
Everyone in my family has been sick in May, and Murphy's law is in full effect. I'm kind of sick of May as a result. I've got two kids with strep, one with stomach troubles, and the baby had a cold. My wife had some issues, and is battling a head thing, as am I. Even the family vehicle has been sick, we blew a tire out and it will need to be replaced. Fortunately, it was one that was due to be replaced anyway.
The house next door, where I took the pictures of the Tillandsias got renovated. The poor house needed it, and the new owners worked hard on it. One negative though, is that the limbs that grew most of the T. setacea were removed. Because it is the least common bromeliad on my street, it made me sad. However, there are other colonies on the street, and I'm sure it will be fine.

With school winding down, sickness, and new job opportunities, May has been an interesting time. June could be even more interesting.

I'll make sure to keep both eyes open.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Worked a Special Event Station, Other News.

Friday ended a very long week for me. I was a substitute teacher by Day Tuesday - Friday, and a Publix Data Monkey at night Monday - Thursday.

Fortunately, it ended on a high note. I got to make a fire with my kids, and we toasted smores, it's the standard big fun event at our house, and it was big fun. Somewhere in there, I actually got to do a lil ham radio too.

It's true what they say, you're never too busy for what you want to do. I've wanted to make sure I work radio at least twice a week, and while last week, I only got to do it once, did it I did, and it was a good station at that!

On May 7th, 1915 it happened, by April 2017, "REMEMBER THE LUSITANIA!" enlistment posters were up in America. Without getting too political, it's the ship the Germans sunk that Churchill (as First Lord of the Admiralty) thought would hasten US involvement in "The Great War". It took the US some more time than that to get involved directly, but it is a matter of historical record that we had bullets to give the British on that ship.

To commemorate the sinking, GB100MFA is operating out of Liverpool, England, the home port of the Lusitania, and so far I've managed to work them once on 20m CW. OP was good, but my CW was rusty, like as in there was some corrosion on the contacts for the key I had to clean off, and I had a hard time understanding him beyond the normal RST exchange.

Maybe I'll try to work him again later! Supposed to be a "SSB" station out there too.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back to Bromeliads, Making Sense of Knowing Your Place

Recently, I posted about three species of bromeliads:

all three Tillandsias covered by my blog are somewhere in this picture

They are all common in Florida, especially in the Lakeland area where I live. Bet you can find some in your neighborhood.
Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)
Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata)
Southern Needle Leaf (Tillandsia setacea)

Struck by their beauty, and in awe of how they lived, I listened for a deeper message. Sometimes, when you read God's word, you don't remember what you've read, until God shows you something He needs you to see, and then you will remember what you have heard or read.
These plants are not like other plants. They have a different place, and different food. Some plants live on the ground, roots deep in the soil. They have a job to do there. These plants live in trees, and their job is to be in that tree. When an air plant hits the ground, it soon begins to die. They have to stay above. People are like that, especially redeemed people.

Colossians Chapter 3 starts off like this:
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
We're called to set our minds on things above. We can't be down below. Just like air plants, we have to be in a different state of existence than the people who still live without Christ. To continue to exist as terrestrial plants means death for our Tillandsia, and so to, we have died in Christ and must live as something else.

Doing this isn't easy. It requires constantly pruning off that which wants to keep us down:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Notice that when we "put off" the old self, something new, by necessity, takes it place. Once we were rooted in the world, but when we take up the old, we must be anchored to something else. Let's remember that our anchor is to Jesus, and that we are 'being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator'.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Turtle Power!

The pureists will remind me we're talking tortoises here, and there are some important distinctions.

I do however, want to take time to remember ol' Cutshell, whom I haven't seen in a few years, but sometimes he(she) goes a few years without being seen. It would go from somewhere in our backyard to somewhere cross the street this time of year, had a cut on its carapace that looked like battle damage from a lawn mower. Cutshell was/is a survivor. Hope there are baby Cutshells running around.

Springtime Shell-ebration!It’s spring, which means gopher tortoises are out and about! After a winter of relative...
Posted by MyFWC on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ramble On!

Fly in week at Lakeland Linder Airport. Many folks coming in for that. I'll have to research the history of fly in week. There's going to be airshows, lots of personally own/flown aircraft, and my cousin is coming into town! She's a pilot and airframe maintenance mechanic to boot.

Lots of metal birds to look at, and not just the feathered ones for a change.

Speaking of birds, migration is at its peak in FL. Reports are filtering in from all over the state of moving warblers, tanagers, buntings, and other feathered beasts. I haven't seen a lot yet, but I went birding Saturday morning with the oldest at Circle B Bar, still working on that post. The peak was probably a week ago, but there's still a lot out there to see. Plus, breeding for the locals has begun!

Discovered a wide area repeater network in FL:
Seems interesting, I can hit the local repeater with my $30 Radio Shack clearance (from 10 years ago) UHF special radio using a rubber duck. If you live near an interstate in FL, chances are you are already in a coverage area for one of these linked repeaters. Find out a local one, and give out a call. I've been trying to call every now and again, but haven't heard any activity on them yet.

FL has at lease one other repeater network, the NI4CE network, and I think there's some linked repeaters in south Florida too. It's important for an old hat like me to remember that repeaters are where a lot of the most important activities occur for ham radio, and repeaters introduce most new hams to the hobby. Be kind, be courteous, and always follow good amateur radio practices when using repeaters.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Attack of the Bromeliads Part 3, Revenge of the Needle!

This beauty is what really got me thinking about bromeliads:

Tillandsia setacea: Southern Needleleaf
This is Tillandsia setacea: Southern Needleleaf, and it has some of the most striking flowers out of something related to Spanish Moss I've ever seen.

T. setacea, showing seeding flowers
And this isn't when it's even all that pretty!
When it's in full flower, the flower is purple, I'll keep an eye out, supposedly this is the time when they bloom. Unfortunately, they've never been reported north of Georgia, and according to the USF Plant Atlas of Vascular Plants, has only been "vouchered" in Florida in counties south of and including I-4. There have been collections made in a few counties around Tampa, north of I-4.

Crimsoned triad breaks
Sending seeds into the wind
Planting in the air

From the underside
Of the Live Oak branch it grows
Needing only air.

I haven't found any information about commercial uses of this plant, nor have I found any folk medicinal uses. Mostly, it is pretty to look at, and scrubs the humid air under live oaks. That's not a bad lot in life.

There are a lot more different types of Tillandsias and there's even more different genera. In all there are sixteen native to Florida species, and there's two hybrids that occur naturally. One of the biggest dangers that they face is from an imported insect, the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil, Metamasius callizona. First reported in FL in the mid 1990's, the weevil quickly discovered that Florida's bromeliads are tasty. Many of the plants they feast upon have become uncommon or endangered as a result of their depredation. Fortunately for T. usneoides, T. recurvata, and T. setacea the weevil does not for now, find them tasty. The link above that describes the weevil problem also details a program started in 2007 to control the weevil population using a parasitic fly.

I've written these three articles on these common plants because I learned something while looking at them. Next time I'll share some interesting realizations I had while seeking flowers along the branches of a live oak tree.