More Distraction.

So Walmart has told its stores to take down any “signing and displays referencing violence”, including advertising for violent video games. However, they will continue to see guns as they do today. There’s no change there.

Wow, that will solve everything.

I am by no means anti-gun, but I am definitely anti-stupidity, and honestly, there is way too much stupidity going on in the United States. I’m surprised we’re not dumping Gatorade on crops to give them electrolytes.

Facts can not be debated. I know people like to watch news channels that reinforce their opinion and show people debating fact, but reinforced opinion is not the same as fact. It’s still opinion and while I’m at it, a repeated lie does not become a truth.

Other countries report video game revenue in proportion to the size of their population when compared to the United States. Would you like to take a guess as to what’s not in proportion? Mass shootings. Violent gun deaths. But by all means, let’s go after video games instead of doing anything, hell, I’ll take ONE thing, about regulating gun sales.

We are sending our loved ones to workplaces and schools and malls and concerts and festivals where they have to engage “Active Shooter Drills”. My old elementary school stood nearly 80 years without having bullet proof glass installed throughout the main entrance. It’s bad enough that we have an entire generation of Americans that has known nothing but a country at war.

Living in fear is not freedom. You can sing the National Anthem, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, demand everyone stand up in patriotic gestures, but singing and pledging and standing does not make freedom. Going shopping without worrying about getting shot by a maniac that bought a gun at Walmart, that’s a good start for freedom.

Politics.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read a social media update that says, “Just because I voted for Trump doesn’t mean I support his ideals”. Actually, these people are supporting his ideals by putting him and his incompetent, racist, unqualified ass in the Oval Office.

I have no tolerance for excuses.

I still maintain we had weak choices for President in 2016. Inexplicably we ended up with the weakest. And we are paying the price for it.

I have little faith in the American public to do the right thing in 2020. I have little faith in the Democrats to do the right thing. And we all know the media is going to frame anything and everything in most dramatic, contentious, confusing way possible to guarantee themselves as much ad revenue as possible.

And that’s why I’m not blogging much about politics these days. There’s actually too much to say.

Walk.

I really love the fact that it’s a short train ride to the downtown area of the third largest city in the United States. Downtown Chicago has so much to offer, and I really cherish the opportunity to walk the area on a school night.

I love watching the business people leaving their offices. I enjoy the tourists as they navigate the city via map or map app, occasionally confused about things like “Upper Wacker” and “Lower Wacker”. I smile when I see out of town folks enjoy our city for a business meeting or a convention or a family vacation.

It’s nifty living in a city that people want to visit. I grew up in a small tourist village along the shores of Lake Ontario, but spent 25 years in a city that not many people visited. There’s only so many times you can visit a replica of the Liberty Bell or see an overgrown watering can.

Chicago has so much to offer and I find it a wonderful place to live. Many years ago Dublin, Ireland tugged at my heart strings as the definite place for us to live.

I’m happy to say Chicago tugs my heart strings the exact same way. I’m proud to be a resident of The Windy City.

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Happy.

There are rumbles in the air that ABC is considering reviving the brilliant comedy “Happy Endings”. The Internet better not be trolling us because this is amahzing news. The fast paced comedy has always been one of my favorites and I have been watching reruns since the show went off the air back in 2013. It was cancelled way too soon. The cast was brilliant together and the quirkiness, meta jokes, and farcical situations is just what we need in this otherwise depressing time in the United States.

ABC: BRING. IT.

Plus, I’ve always had a straight crush on Eliza Coupe.

Dunes.

Apparently seven years ago today I went for a Jeep ride to my hometown. Apple Photos was kind enough to remind me of this. I don’t remember taking this photo but I am very familiar with the area, as it is only a mile or two from where I grew up.

You’ll notice there are sand dunes along the green field in this photo; when Dad was digging the basement for our new home back in 1975, I remember mounds of sand all around the excavated area. The land of my hometown is very sandy, as once upon a time it was part of Lake Ontario. Even though the spot in the photo about is about 10 miles in from the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, there’s still plenty of sand dunes in the area, lending evidence to the fact that what we called home was once under water.

When we were kids we would ride our Coleco toboggans down those sand dunes. We’d have fun with our cousins, riding down and then trekking back up to do it all over again.

These dunes were on the approach to runway 34 at the small airport we were at every weekend; where my dad learned to fly. I always liked looking out of the back seat of the Piper J-5A and seeing the dunes, even though there was no lake to be found.

Seeing this photo made me smile. We need more smiles in today’s world.

Shoes.

If you look at my feet you’ll notice that I now enjoy flying in my Converse All-Star sneakers. I can nicely feel the rudders when I wear these shoes.

In this photo I’m crabbing into the wind as I land on runway 11 at KBMI. It wasn’t my prettiest landing but I’m hyper critical of my landings. The camera didn’t even jiggle when the wheels touched the ground.

Caturday.

Truman strikes a post at nap time. Notice the side-eye toward the human that was taking his photo.

Actually, I’m concerned that Truman is bored living with us here in the Condo of Happiness. He has plenty of treats, scratching furniture, water, cleaning litter, and toys scattered about, but he occasionally races around and makes non-Earthly like noises sounding like he’s being strangled, and then he high tails it across any non-floor surface before running up the curtains.

He wasn’t fixed until a few days before we adopted him, so I sometimes wonder if he has some left over juice here six months later. Maybe he’s just super feisty.

Or else he’s bored.

Passion.

I had the pleasure of listening to an aviation podcast earlier today after a wonderful breakfast with my fellow members of the flying club I belong to. The podcast is called Simple Flight, and is produced by a couple members of the club right from the clubhouse at KPWK. If you’re an AvGeek and enjoy podcasts, I highly recommend you adding it to your playlist for your listening pleasure.

In this latest podcast (09 Jul 19 episode), the guest was a man who has the goal of owning and flying a Phenom 300 business jet. He is working his way toward that goal, and it’s clear from the enthusiasm exhibited during this interview that he has a passion for aviation and I have no doubt that he will realize his dream.

As I was sitting in traffic on Chicago’s Kennedy Expressway, making my way home while listening to this podcast, I started daydreaming about my passions, and how I’m happiest when I’m focused on those passions. I enjoy many things, but I’m passionate about four things, and I have dreams that I’m still striving to realize in this second half of my life.

So what am I passionate about?

I say this is without hesitation, but my first and foremost passion, is my family and home. As my mother would say, “well duh, John”, the truth of the matter is, I feel fulfilled and happiest when I’m in our home space in a place that I love with the people I love. My love for my family is the driver for everything else, and this enables me to work hard, play harder, and discover the next big thing in my life.

My second passion is aviation. I live life without regret but honestly I wish I had become a pilot sooner in my life. Obviously things happen when and where they best should happen, and become a pilot five years ago was the right time and place, but sometimes I wonder where I’d be in the world today if I had found the confidence and resources to become a pilot earlier in life. Would I be flying for the airlines? Would I be flying cargo? Would Earl and I own an airplane together? My passion for aviation drives me to become a better pilot with every flight, and I honestly I’ve been too slow in getting the ratings I want. I need to ramp that up. Focus on the passion, not the distraction.

My third passion, and this is another thing I could talk non-stop about, is what I call “practical technology”. I am fascinated by how far technology has come along in my lifetime, but the truth of the matter is, not all of it is good. Practical Technology needs to continue to move ahead, but this extraneous stuff to me holds little interest for me. I definite practical technology as tech that makes a positive contribution to the world. Practical tech makes using technology easier for the user. A number of years ago an appliance company designed a washer that connected to the dryer so the dryer would know when the washer was finishing up its cycle and start warming up ahead of time. This is nifty and certainly possible, but is it practical? What’s it accomplishing? If you’re not standing right there when the washer completes, how is this going to help? It’s like this trend of having cars turn off and automatically start again when you step off the brake, all in the name of energy conservation. How much energy does it really conserve? How much does it screw up traffic patterns due to waiting for the car to restart when the light turns green? We have so much technology available to use that is not practical; I’d really like to see what I can do as a software engineer to bring technology back in the line of being practical again. I’m really interested in bringing more tech into aviation. I’m not a fan of remote controlled passenger aircraft, but I am a fan of succinctly informing the pilot with as much data as relevant to a situation.

My fourth passion is music. Great music, full of emotion and feeling, and performed in a genuine manner, makes my heart sing. So much new music today is created for the purpose of stardom and making money. This type of performance elicits no response in me. But powerful moments, where you can nearly wrap your arms around the joy the performer is feeling during their performance, will nearly bring me to tears. I care less about perfection and am always looking for the genuine. Seeking out performances of this nature will always make me happy, and my passion for finding this happiness always makes me smile.

There’s a lot of things one must do for the purpose of generating the opportunity to pursue their passions. This is the energy that all humans should be allowed to expend.

I’m certain the world would be a happier place if we all just allowed one another to be passionate.

Responsible Tech.

Apple has stopped human monitoring of Siri interactions worldwide. When it was discovered that sensitive information was being pulled into the transcripts, Apple did the responsible thing and ceased the human monitoring of these transcripts. A future release of iOS and Mac OS will include the ability to opt out of this monitoring feature.

At no time was your Apple ID included with the transcript.

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