Friday, July 27, 2012

July Updates

I can't think of a unique post title, so it's just basic about this month. In high school, my main group of friends were all girls, five of them. My school's principal called them my harem and it kind of stuck. A couple months ago, one of my harem wanted my address for an invitation to her wedding, which I attended two weeks ago. Two others of my harem were participants with her.

For some of them, I haven't seen them since graduation over a decade ago. It was fun to see them, but since they were busy, I didn't get to talk with them very much. These women were in many ways the same, but we are going our different ways and persuing different interests. In school, there were a couple of them that I could have seen me marrying, but that was not God's plan. It's rare for quads to get married after injury, so I doubt it will ever happen for me, but it is good to see my friends going through life's milestones.

Reading is something I never got into, but I have been doing more of it in the past several weeks, while flying planes. One item has surprised me, and another has me inspired. The first is an article I read in Answers magazine, "The Barefoot Professor."  The magazine is part of Answers in Genesis and the main emphasis is how to trust in God's word and that true science helps to confirm it. The article was on the benefits of going barefoot, showing how our feet are designed, by God, to work and how shoes interfere with that. I know the benefits already, but was just surprised to see the article and that the "barefoot movement" had progressed so much that it's now in main stream magazines.

The second item is a big called "Outrageous Advertising" that I've had for a couple years. It shows how to use items you never think about to get noticed by potential clients. It has an unique approach that I sent out six test messages today. We'll see if it produces the desired results or not. My mother thought it wasn't in good taste, writing letters by mouth, but it takes odd approaches sometimes to get noticed. We'll see if the Wheeling Webmaster makes an impact, and gets more clients.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


If you can't guess by this blog's address and my photo, I'm a rail fan. Just like you might describe a sports fan, I like pretty well everything railroad related. As I've said on here before, I love getting out and sitting by the tracks on a summer day watching trains go by. Unfortunately, Iowa has been extremely hot this summer, so I haven't been able to go and enjoy my outdoor activities. Therefore, I'm doing indoor entertainment, which generally means something on the computer.

As you might expect, one of my computer programs is a train simulator. Since rail fans aren't always of the younger generation, rail simulators aren't widely available. My version was made by Microsoft around 2001 and hasn't been updated since. When I upgraded my computer last year, it meant I now had a system that wouldn't easily run my simulator. Despite going through detailed instructions, I couldn't get it to run. Since I haven't looked into other options yet, I'm down to my other simulator for entertainment, my flight simulator.

It may be a conflict of interest, but there are several Sunday afternoons that I can be found flying a plane on autopilot while reading the latest Trains magazine. I almost get an adrenaline rush landing a jumbo jet perfectly in the center of the runway, on the glide path, and doing it like a "real" pilot would. Like every simulator I touch though, I want it to be as accurate to life as possible. The scenery downright stinks, but it doesn't change easily; therefore, I program real world flights to fly the skies with me.

Since 2008, I have been a member at It gives live flight tracking pretty well all around the globe. I wouldn't want to guess how many days, or more likely weeks, I have spent documenting which aircraft, from which airline, go from airport to airport. The time of departure, arrival, and how many trips one plane can make between points. It's an unusual research project, but one that I have come to enjoy. Each weekend, I will program my new findings into my simulator, and off I go in some aircraft to a destination somewhere far away, or nearby. Probably my biggest frustration and not having every aircraft and airline to add to my simulated world. However, I have added a multitude of aircraft types than the default three by Boeing that are included.

The next time you see, or travel in, a plane, know that odds are good that a rail fan has seen your flight virtually and have it flying on a simulator some weekend.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 4

Yes, it's the seventh as I write this, but the fourth is still a relevant date. The fourth of July is always an anticipated holiday, it's summer's halfway point an one that seems to come in odd situations for me.

I don't remember the reason we were there, but my first memorable fourth of July was spent at Blank Children's Hospital. I was in "my" room and remember seeing fireworks in several places in Des Moines. I couldn't hear the boom, but at least I could see them. Our usual venue was at the dam near town with fighting traffic and trying to get a place to sit. This was new, but not the first odd celebration of independence.

A few years later I was again in the hospital on the fourth, but this time it was in Denver at a hospital specializing in care of spinal cord injuries. My lung had collapsed due to their care, so my stay was extended. Several patients were taken to the top of a parking ramp for a live band and to watch fireworks. At dusk the show began and we could again see several different displays at once. An added bonus was that active railroad tracks were also visible, so I trains, fireworks, and I wasn't the only wheelchair user around.

In college, one of my funding sources didn't cover nurses on days when I didn't have class. Therefore, my parents were with me and friends of our family came up as well. Watching fireworks from campus wasn't as fun as some years, but it was still fun.

The most recent Independence Day oddity was in 2010. After having emergency surgery while at camp in Ohio, I finally received my independence after two weeks in the ICU. It was a long drive home, but it was great to be free after so long in an unfamiliar place.

On July four, we celebrate our nation's independence from oppression from another government. It's a day that has a lot of memories for me and likely will continue to in the years to come.