12 November 2011

Fingers Not Working

I'll not be Posting for, I hope, a short time.  Nor will I be able to respond to Comments or Reviews.  I seem to have a nerve problem in my neck which has rendered the fingers of my left hand somewhat useless. Typing, especially, is a chore, for now. Don't give up on me. I'm hoping my chiropractor can remedy the situation, or at least refer me to someone who can. I hope to explain more about this, soon.

22 October 2011

Tracking Down Old School Chums

More than a few years ago, one of my high school friends - whom I knew as far back as elementary school - contacted me via  I had seen an obituary, years ago, of someone with his name and thought it must have been him.  As a result, I challenged this fellow and asked him what elementary school he attended.  Had it not been him, he would never have guessed Allapattah Elementary, which is in Miami, Florida.

That started me thinking about tracking down old classmates, myself, and I actually started with my elementary school.  Allapattah Elementary published a sort of yearbook with photos of everyone going there in the school year 1960-61, but it did not include names with the photos.  Some of my classmates in 4th grade signed my yearbook and some did not.  Some included their surnames and others did not.

As I located each person, I would ask him/her to help me identify other photographs in the yearbook and I would then attempt to locate those people.

The photographs were at least placed by class and teacher.   I uploaded the entire yearbook to my Yahoo Briefcase, but Yahoo eventually did away with that feature.

I did not limit myself to only seeking my 4th Grade schoolmates, but worked on finding anyone from 1st through 7th grades, all pictured in the yearbook.  I may or may not have known those in other grades, back then, but it didn't matter much.   Most people, when signing up for, only listed their high schools, so everyone was amazed that I found them and knew they went to Allapattah.

I am also in touch with my 4th Grade teacher and my Cub Scout Den Mother.  I regularly correspond with some of my Allapattah schoolmates.  Some of those from Allapattah also attended high school with me, although I didn't always realize it until somewhat recently.

One of the 7th Graders at that time volunteered to bankroll the printing of 500 duplicates of my own yearbook.  We've been giving them away, for free, to whomever lost theirs or perhaps never had one.  A few hundred were damaged by a water leak at this fellow's house, but he managed to save some of them.  I still have some left, as well, but we don't have many takers anymore.  I've about run out of names of people to research and there are perhaps hundreds I'll never locate, for various reasons.

I do know of some deaths, but it's very difficult to find that information, as oposed to searching for a live person.

There were less than half a dozen negative contacts from all of those with whom I got in touch.   Most everyone has been very nice and helpful, if at all possible, in helping me ID their classmates (and sometimes siblings) and had a good time reminiscing about our childhood in the old Allapattah neighborhood.

The Miami Herald sometimes has articles about the old neighborhood and I'll often scan the article and email it off to at least my 4th Grade classmates and a few of the others with whom I correspond.  We were too young to know about many of the things that occurred back then and it's nice to learn about them all these years later.  {Cassius Clay lived a few blocks from our school before he became Mohammed Ali and many of the kids knew him, which is another story.}

02 October 2011

The Knack

This episode of Dilbert is a favorite among Engineers.  We already know, of course, that we were born with the affliction known as "The Knack."  It is incurable and one has to endure a number of years of schooling at special Institutions in order to learn to control The Knack for the benefit of all mankind.  The alternative, of course, would be to become Mad Scientists.  Either way, we are known by a number of sometimes offensive layman's terms, the most popular being Geeks or Nerds.   Most of us are now proud to be referred to as such.  The public has never understood the necessity of Pocket Protectors and they cannot understand Slide Rules at all, nor why some of us would wear them depending from  belts.  Slide Rules have been displaced by pocket calculators, nowadays, which leads to a dangerous situation in that many of us have forgotten how to use Slide Rules.  After all, what would happen if we ran out of batteries for the calculators and the electrical power grid has been interrupted or perhaps lost due to a cataclysmic occurrence?  We must try to remain proficient in the use of our Slide Rules in case of an emergency design becoming necessary.   Speaking of designing, don't even ask me about French Curves; they're not at all what you're imagining.

School for HVAC in Lowell, MA

A fellow Mensan began a school for HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning) up in Lowell, MA.  Anyone wanting to change their careers to HVAC and live up in the general area of Lowell, MA, should give Jacko a shout.  In a very short period of time, he and his partner have created a dynamite school, The New England Institute of HVAC, Inc.  I've placed a link to the school's website off to the right.  I hope it brings him a bit of business and brings anyone checking it out a new and satisfying career.

23 September 2011

Simon's Cat in "The Box"

For those of you who are acquainted with cats and their ways, this animation and others involving Simon's Cat will be both familiar and entertaining.

Turbo Encabulator II

This is a more detailed explanation of the design and development of the Turbo Encablator by the same Rockwell Automotive Engineer.

The Turbo Encabulator

A Rockwell Automotive Engineer's discourse on the newly developed Turbo Encabulator.  It's very educational and entertaining, although a tad technical.   (No one seems to know if it is Turbo Encabulator or Turbo Entabulator.)

20 September 2011

Karl Kenda, Deceased Artist

I just began a separate Blog on my old friend, Karl Kenda, a Miami artist whose best works were from the sixties and early seventies.  I call his art psychedelic or cosmic or surrealistic, but he thought of it as being spiritual.  It's all of those and more.  I'll be Posting a number of photographs of his paintings in the weeks ahead, a few here and more on his own Blog.  (See the link in My Blog List to the right.)

I began his Blog with the biography that I researched and wrote, with a great deal of input from his widow, including military and other legal documents she gave to me.  Some of his family info came directly from the U.S. Census.  I hope to reach some of his old friends.  Perhaps they can help to fill out his biography.  There are only four known snapshots of Karl.  I hope more might be located.

I added a few photos, already.  The first two are in a private collection.  The bottom one is my own, which I entitled "Distorted Reflection of Souls."  Karl gave it to me in 1970.   I will Post more photos in Karl's Blog.

06 September 2011

An Anti-Gadget Rant

I will soon be writing a contribution to my friend and classmate's blog, "We Are In Control," and I will not be duplicating that, here, but will refer you to his blog at should you wish to read it.

Since he's expecting something spectacular from me, I believe I'll generate the post on Word and transfer it over when I'm satisfied with the final result.

30 August 2011

My Businesses

I've just added links to my businesses as listed in Google Maps, so that the reader may peruse a bit more detail of each.  Both are, of course, home-based businesses, Pure Air Systems, Inc., since 1986, thereby avoiding rent for a shop, as well as a shop's associated expenses, electric, second phone, a certain amount of insurance and other miscellaneous expenses.

Even if I am geographically unable to do business with a reader who is in need of air purification or an antique chair's seat repaired/rewoven, I'd nevertheless be happy to offer my advice, gratis, and perhaps be able to refer one to a reputable shop near to the reader.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

28 August 2011

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present &future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

21 August 2011

Repair of Herniated Discs

About two years ago, I suddenly discovered that I could not stand upright and later found, via CAT Scans, that I had several bulging or herniated discs in my lower spine.   For more than a year, had you called out "Hey, Igor," I would have turned around and answered you.  To function at all, I was forced to go to a pain management clinic. I have been going there, every 28 days, ever since, in order to obtain prescriptions for oxycodone. Unfortunately, I have built up a tolerance for the milder opiates and they do not help as much as they did at first.

I tried Acupuncture, at first, to alleviate the pain, but I found no relief whatsoever in that.

To repair the damaged discs, I was later advised by friends to go to a chiropractor who uses a decompression machine to restore the discs to their proper size and placement within the spinal column.

I went to Dr. Jeff Hazim in Pompano Beach, Florida, who prescribed decompression treatment three times a week for a few months. It took a while, but I was eventually able to stand upright again without pain. Unfortunately, at that time, I discovered that I must have a similar problem with the discs in my neck because I found myself looking at the ground and unable to raise my head without great effort and pain.

Decompression treatment, in a nutshell, is stretching and releasing one's spine, repeatedly, by just a few millimeters, for half an hour. This makes the targeted discs return to their original shape, position and function, wherein they take in as much spinal fluid as leaves them, so that they draw back within the spinal column and no longer press against the nerves.

He repeated the treatment, this time for my neck, and it has improved, but I still undergo massage and electrical stimulation and I am very slowly improving. I am taking a bit less oxycodone than I was and I hope to eliminate pain killers entirely before much longer.

As expensive as the pain management doctor and pills are, I had to continue with them, all this time, while having my spine repaired.

Should anyone reading this blog have similar problems and live in South Florida, I would suggest giving Dr. Hazim a call. I understand that my discs were in particularly bad shape, so I do not expect most people to have to undergo treatment for as long as I have.

Below is an update to this post:

Because the  Feds were giving pain clinics such a hard time, down here, even the pharmacies and hospitals were unable to get their painkillers and I ended up going cold turkey and didn't leave my house for two weeks.  It was still some time after that before I felt reasonably up to working again.  Needless to say, I did not go back to the pain clinic, but continued on with the Dr. Hazim.

I have again included a couple of coupons for both pain treatment and massage.  I removed the originals because they had an expiration date, but he's still honoring them, two years later, and I whited out the date and clipped off the map because he's moved to 6555 Powerline Road, Suite 103, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 33309. 

The phone number is:  954.776.1880
The Fax number is :     954.776.1808

Sorry the coupons are so small, but making them any larger would have most of them off the screen.


22 May 2011

My Air Cleaner Business

I began my air cleaner business, Pure Air Systems, Inc.,  in 1986 with little capital and one bank customer.  Back then, the Data Center managers from various banks all knew each other and played softball on weekends, so it was easy to get referrals to other bank Data Centers.  None of that holds true anymore.  Since banks don't want the public to know where their Data or Money Centers are, one has to track down their managers, via telephone or email, and, if they're interested in speaking with one further, they'll then tell you where the heck they are located.

Data Centers are dusty enough with paper and ink dust from processing millions of checks a day, but Money Centers, where they process both paper money and coinage, are absolutely filthy; hence, the need for air cleaners, which remove particulates from the air and keep them out of the equipment and, more importantly, out of workers' lungs.  Coin rooms are especially bad.

With all the bank takeovers, in recent years, all the little bank contracts I once had came down to, ultimately, one big one, that being Wells Fargo.

My second contract (in 1987) was with Florida National Banks, which was taken over by First Union, which was taken over by Wachovia, which became Wells Fargo in 2011.   Some of the other Data Centers I dealt with simply closed up shop or moved out of the area.

I never sold air cleaners at list price, even to banks, because I am more concerned with having the regular income that comes from servicing the air cleaners, each month.  I'll still get a profit off of a sale, but I like to give the customer a price break.

I recently became one of two Florida dealers for Alen Air Cleaners, residential, media-type units, whereas I had previously dealt mainly with commercial, electronic air cleaners. 

Electronic air cleaners (good ones) have cells in them that create a charge on the particulates and then collect them inside.  The cells must be changed for clean ones periodically.  Media air cleaners contain, basically, very efficient filters of various media types, which must be discarded and replaced with new ones periodically.  Both types of air cleaners have their pros and cons.  I am happy with the brands that I carry, for their appearance, efficiency, prices and ease of use and service.

Since I am an Electrical Engineer, I have no qualms about repairing air cleaners when they fail, rather than selling the customer a replacement unit.  I'll never get rich that way, but I'd prefer to treat my customer right, even if my customer is a large corporation.

Even though a/c filters give one a small profit margin, I have also begun touting them for added business.  Too, I hope to build up more commercial air cleaner sales and servicing for added income as well as increasing the company's worth for when I wish to retire and sell it.  That will be years from now, but I've already had two people express an interest in taking it over, one individual and one South Florida air cleaner distributor.

27 April 2011

Men Should Begin Wearing Hats Again

Men ought to begin wearing hats again, with the exception of baseball caps for the most part.  The latter are for baseball players and some other sportsmen, but not for everyday use.  I suppose some men wear them to hide their bald spots or protect their hair plugs, though.

One of the sillier hats some celebrities and wannabes wear is known as a pork pie hat, a fedora with a very narrow brim.

I don't intend to become a hat collector, but I do have three so far, only two of which will I ever wear in public.  I bought a nice Indiana Jones fedora several years ago and just finished making myself a leather Gambler's Hat, also known as a Maverick Hat, presumably named after the old TV western starring James Garner.

I've gotten many compliments on my hats, especially the Gambler's hat and especially from women.  They are always surprised to hear that I made the latter and often ask questions about making it.

I do enjoy women in some hats, even baseball caps on rare occasions.

I guess I'm just old fashioned.

I've got the plans for a top hat, but I will not be making it out of leather.  Too expensive.  I intend to make it out of the felt I had left over from my Gandalf (the wizard from Lord of the Rings) hat. Neither of these are intended for public wear, but are fun to make and show off on rare occasions.

The Guild

The Guild videos are written by and acted in by Felicia Day, an actual actress who is also an actual online game player.  This particular one is an extra, but the Guild has four seasons under its belt so far and I’ve watched them all.  They are fun and weird and funny.  You might like to go through them, too.

I had never heard of The Guild or Felicia Day until I stumbled across the first Guild video; don't ask me how.

They are all on YouTube, except that Season 4 is on Bing or MSN videos.  Each segment is about six to eight minutes long and there are perhaps twelve or thirteen episodes per season.  You can go through one after the other.  They are presently filming Season 5.

It’s about online game players who meet in real life to varying degrees of disaster.

Their first season was bankrolled solely by their fans contributing via PayPal, but successive videos were sponsored by seriously huge corporations; I forget which.

Felicia Day is a cutie.  Her online avatar name is Codex.  She’s the one singing about wanting to date her avatar in this video, below.   Another of their extra videos is entitled "Game On" and it's along the lines of a Bollywood production.

Here's the address for "Game On":

Seeing an ad on The Guild site (Watch the Guild) and thinking I was getting in on the ground floor for The Guild comics, I checked with my local comic book store and found that I am four years late for that.  I can't even find the original comics online, so I'll have to content myself with buying the Graphic Novels, collections of previous comics.  I am obviously not the only person to keep his comics after reading them.   I just bought the prequel, showing all of the game players' lives before they got together online.  I don't believe the prequel was made up of previous comics, but is all new material.  Everything else is based on after they meet offline.

As of October 2011, Felicia Day and crew have just completed and posted a third episode of a new online movie, Dragon Age:  Redemption.  I should have waited until the entire series was posted before watching, but I couldn't wait to see what they'd done.  Felicia is a ruthless, sexy, warrior elf in this, but I do not believe she is an evil elf.  If I'm understanding correctly, they are completing and posting one episode per week and there will be six episodes in all, so I 'll wait until the rest are posted and then watch all of them in order.  There are some poor reviews and some positive.  I found it entertaining, so my review would be positive.

05 March 2011

High School's Pre-Demolition Party

One of the North Miami Councilmen came up with the idea of having a huge get-together for all of those graduates of North Miami High school before it is demolished in April of 2011.  I had already been in touch with some of my high school classmates, both before and because of our 40th Reunion, and some of us managed to get together for this get-together, viewing the old school before it is torn down.

It was estimated by the media that there were 4,000 people there.  At the end of the evening, 8 p.m., we had a final Pep Rally in the auditorium, SRO.  There were graduates from as far back as 1955 and the newest were from the Class of 2009.

Much of the new school has already been built, but the old had not yet been demolished.   The new is not very impressive, no soul to it at all.

It was nice to see the old place, although the rooms were mostly empty of fixtures, desks, etc.
The Gymnasium wasn't accessible and I was unable to remember what classes were in what wings.  The only thing that was easily recognizable was the Senior Patio.

Sorry it's so dark.  At least one can get a feel for being there and you can see the fountain.  We spent a lot of time there as Seniors, when we weren't off campus.  We were among the first to experience the open campus policy, so we actually didn't spend much time there when we weren't in class.  We were either at the burger joint or the beach or whatever.

More Photos Below:

East side of Auditorium:

 One North-South Hallway:
 Pep Rally from Balcony of Auditorium:
 Auditorium Balcony at Pep Rally:
 Main Hallway Facing East:
 Make-Out Area behind Balcony:
 NE Corner of School:
 New Frog Pond on Pioneer Blvd.:
 Front of School:
 Scoreboard in Gym:
 East Side of Auditorium:
 West Side Demo - Vocational Area:

Next Reunion of FIT's BSEEs

I've begun pre-planning our next reunion, which I hope to be Homecoming Week of 2013.  I've garnered little response to my emails to my classmates, but the few that did respond have expressed enthusiasm.

I've asked them if we should open up our reunion to those from "neighboring" graduation years, those of  '71, '72, '74 and '75, since I've had queries from a few fellows from those years, asking to join us.  I think it's a fine idea, although it will mean a much larger get-together/party.  I cannot spend the next few years tracking down graduates from those years and want one or two guys from each of those years to track down their own classmates.  They might need that long to find everyone.

If we do go to a larger reunion, I want it understood that it is our reunion, that of the BSEEs of the Class of '73.  If the other "years" don't mind having an odd-numbered reunion year for themselves, they can consider it their reunion, as well.  Otherwise, we'll consider them guests to our reunion.  Okay, maybe it's selfish, but I want it to be our reunion.  It's my idea; it's my work in tracking down my classmates; it's my work in organizing the thing, this time, last time and future times.

Being possibly five times as many people at this next, combined reunion, I expected to have to find someplace much larger than Dr. Hadj's house to have the Friday night party, but he insists on having it there again.  He and his wife, Fran, very much enjoy throwing parties and they, in fact, hosted our  Senior Party in '73 and our first reunion in 2008, our 35th year reunion and FIT's 50th Anniversary.

Regardless of the size of the party, if we do, indeed, have it at John's house, it'll be much easier to organize.  All I'll have to do is attempt to get RSVPs in so that he knows about how many people to expect.  If this is like two years ago, he'll be inviting present-day professors and administrators and students and even neighbors; all okay with me.

As was pointed out to me by Johny, chances are the same classmates, with a few exceptions, at our last party will be at the next one, as well. 

Having so few responses to my queries, asking my classmates their opinions about all of the above, I have been about ready to give up the idea.  Johny and Sylvia (my college girl friend) and Ed all suggested that I should go ahead with the plans and those classmates too busy to answer will eventually sign up for it, probably at the last minute.  This will present a problem for those who think their classmates from other years will be joining us because I need some of them to find their own.  We'll have this posted in Fla. Tech Today, so we'll pick up some that way, mostly those who live fairly close to Melbourne, I expect.  It'll make it difficult to estimate the numbers for John.  Maybe I can elicit a better response as the time nears.

More comments in future posts.