Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spinns Burgers

Halloween Geezerz lunch was at Spinns Burgers.  I have eaten here a couple previous times. When I was riding my bike on the Bosque trail, I would park at Montano  and Coors.  Spinns was the closest for a post ride brew and burger.

Another thing I like of Spinns Burger - you have the option for a 1.4 pound, half-pound, or a large double burger,  I found that as we get older, we don't need that much food - so generally prefer a 4oz or 6 oz burger.  The 8 oz is mostly time, too much food.

I opted for the BBQ bacon-cheeseburger with fries.  Burger was good, the fries were a little cool and soft.  For brew, I started with a pint of Bosque Brewery Amber Ale.  My secong pint was Bosque's Scottish Style "Scotia" brew.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Relections on the Wall

You may ask "what wall" or ask what I an talking about.  To Vietnam Veterans, there is no confusion.  the "Wall" is the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. I wrote the following after a visit to the Memorial in 1988.


On December 13, 1969, a scared young man got off of a plane at Bien Hoa Air Force Base in Vietnam. Thirteen and a half months later on February 1, 1971, that same young man – older and wiser – returned home to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. In those months, a lot happened that took years to accept. The real acceptance of that experience started on July 28, 1988, over 17 years later. That’s when I visited the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial (“The Wall”) for the first time.

My experience in ‘Nam was different than most, I wasn’t out in the boonies carrying a rifle, nor was I totally a “REMF” at a rear base camp. I was a “71M20” Chaplain Assistant. That meant I was the Chaplain’s bodyguard, driver, secretary, chapel organist, and chapel builder. In addition, I visited our wounded at the evacuation hospitals and assisted in memorial services.

That may not sound like much to you. I didn’t see actual combat – instead, I saw the aftermath. I haven’t talked much about it except to other Vietnam veterans – we’ve had a propensity to keep our feelings to ourselves. At the most, we’ll discuss it with other Vietnam veterans. Recently, with the building of “The Wall” and some of the programs on TV we’ve started to let our feelings come to the surface. They call it “Delayed Stress Syndrome” or something like that.

In the meantime, we’ve kept to ourselves. I have a very close friend in Des Moines who saw a lot of combat. We’ve spent several nights just talking. Occasionally he will have a flashback. Our mutual friends know that’S the time to leave us alone. I know I’m one of the few men who understand what he's going through.

When I visited “The Wall”, my first thoughts were that I wished he could have been there with me to share our feelings and, yes, cry on each other's shoulders. The memorial invokes those feelings, It is truly a moving experience.

As you approach the memorial, it's almost like entering the sacred ground. Signs request “No Smoking”, “No Food”, “No Running”. 

A brochure published by the Parks and History Association fittingly describes the memorial “Like a roll call of time, the memorial lists casualties by date of loss, starting at the vertex. The first name, Dale R. Buis is inscribed under the date 1959 on panel 1E. Names continue eastward to panel 70E, reaching May 1968 at the end of the east wing. The sequence continues at the walls opposite end on panel W70 as if the memorial has circled underground and surfaced again At the vertex, the toll ends with Richard Vande Geer at the bottom of panel W1 above the date 1975. End meets beginning; the circle is complete.”

On my visit to the memorial, I noted an envelope sitting against one of the panels. A soldier’s name had been copied from the memorial. Written on the envelope was “Dear Dad, I’m sorry I never got to know you. Love, …

It is a memorial not only to those who lost their lives but all who served. This is best described by the inscription at the base of the memorial’s flagpole “The flag affirms the principles of freedom for which they fought and their pride in having served under difficult circumstances…”

Anyone visiting Washington DC, whatever their political stance during the Vietnam war, should visit the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. Take in the wall with the veteran standing beside you, tears in his eyes and try to understand the necessary healing of the nation that is taking place. We the Vietnam Veterans, do not expect the general public will ever fully understand what we went through. We only ask that you accept that we served our country as have other veterans.

Friday, October 19, 2018

More Boots?

My new cowboy boots arrived from Boot Barn - a day early!  Usually, I do not order online things like boots.  But Boot Barn has a great return policy where I can return them if I do not want them.  There is a store just a few miles from me at Cottonwood Mall.

Anyway, these beautiful bootsa were on sale (close-out) and in my size.  When I slipped them on my feet, they fit like a glove.  I have learned that my feet fit either 12EE or 13D boots.  These are 13D.

The wife on one of my radio friends suggests I should were the boots tucked into (bloused) jeans.  It is a shame to hide the beautiful boots under jeans.  So - that's what you see, here.

Nothing special of the two shirts that also arrived.  One, each, short and long sleeve western shirts.

With my new boots, again it was time to line up my boots for a "family photo".  Gathered all of my boots on the living room floor. and took a couple photos.  While I was at it, took the time to photography each pair of my boots individually.  Here's the skinny on the collection - 1 pair of hiking boots, 2 pait of military boots (black leather, and jungle boots)  Work boots (new-buck 8" and 16" black loggers), and 14 pair of cowboy boots from several manufacturers. Most were purchased from the Boot Barn.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Club Coffee and ARISS

Headed out for Ham Radio coffee/breakfast.  Most of those that attended were there on ther way to Valley High School to participate in the radio contact with the International Space Station.  There was on other member beside me not work the contact, I had nothing to talk with him after his stints working at Balloon Fiesta. 

Settle into my office chair at the computer to watch the YouTube broadcast of the contact.

The contact came off as planned.  I was very proud of the club's ARISS crew.  They and the school produced an awesome show.

NOTE - the QSL card was from the previous ARISS contact in April 2016.  I hope to be able to post the new card once it is received.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Laguna Burger

This week's "Geezer" lunch was a The Laguna Burger on 12th st near I-40.  I was not impressed.

I was a little early, as usual.  Another of our group arrived aand we got in line to order our food.  This was about 12:30, the normal time we arrive for our luncheons.  The place was a zoo.

I ordered my food and looked for a pint of /Amber Ale.  The server said they did not have any Amber Ales and did not make any suggestion.  So, I settled for water.

The test of our group started arriving and we were able to move to a larger table. One ordered what looked like a amber ale, which was actually Sam Adam's Oktoberfest.  Not a local "craft" beer, but I have had it and works as a substitute in a pinch.  I went and got a pint about the time my food was arriving. 

Not excited about the food.  The french fries were limp and "soggy".  My 1/3 pound chile-cheeseburger was acceptable.  By the time we were all served out food, the place was almost empty.  Maybe if arriving about 1pm for lunch would be better.  As it was, I was not impressed with the food nor service.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Birthday "Dinner"

I finally started feeling "normal" from all of the shifts at Balloon Fiesta.  Headed out to Costco when they opened to pick up some supplies.  Basically recovered and rested most of the day. 

Decided to head over to The Local Brewhouse for my birthday dinner.  Knew they would have the football game on the TV - and it was the Packers vs the 49ers.  Donned my leather Packer jacket and headed out.

Looks like business is bad here, now.  They no longer are open for lunch during the week (open at 3pm).  I wanted a brat for dinner with my beer, but thy no longer have the brat on the menu.  I saw on their facebook that they were advertising for help, including a cook. 

Anyway, I had their Southern BBQ bacon-cheeseburger with fries and two pints of their amber ale.  Got a glass of water, too, to wash down the food.  I had enough of my burger and paid my bill.  Was a early evening - was back home about as the 2nd quarter started.  Looks like I missed a good game.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Wash-out

The weather forecast was not good, but the rain was supposed to hold off until late in the day.  It was not to be - there was a little rain spitting as I drove to Balloon Fiesta Park.  Once there, the bottom dropped out several times.  It was obvious this was going to be a "no-launch" day.

The club manned the booth for a while as some folks wandered through the Discovery Tent.  In short time, all of the displays in the Discovery Tent started being dismantled and packed up.  So was our radio display.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Long Morning at Balloon Fiesta

Another "O-Dark-30" arrival at Balloon Fiesta Park for my shift in the Discovery Tent.  Calm winds this morning, so dawn patrol and mass ascension took off as scheduled.  I was able to get a couple more photos of the balloons illuminated in the dark, before they took off.

New Mexico sky photos can be very
'uninteresting" - so many of our days are wall-2-wall sunshine.  Saturday, with the remnants of a tropical storm coming in, there were some clouds to add some interest into the sky.

We were busy after the balloon launch, fielding questions about amateur radio.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Late Balloon Launch

Today was a busy day on the air.  There were 2 local 2M nets that were run from the Amateur Radio booth in the Discovery tent - the Caravan Club SCAT (Senior Citizen & Travelers) and Rusty's Raiders nets. As such.we have 7 ham volunteers this morning.

Surface winds delayed balloon launching.  Dawn Patrol was scrubbed.  It was almost 9 am before a smaller "mass ascension" launched.  I still was able to get some good photos. Got good views of the Van Gogh and fractal balloons.

Thanks to fellow members of High Desert ARC and the Caravan Club for manning the booth and net control stations.

After my shift was over, I was at Toltec Brewing for the Geezerz lunch.  Chile cheeseburger and pint of Altbeir.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

High Winds Aloft

After the poor service yesterday morning at IHOP (Unser just South of Southern), I skipped breakfast this morning.  Grabbed a donut and coffee after at the tent.

Morning winds seemed light and there were hopes for balloon launch.  I started to become concerned when they were not launching balloons for Dawn Patrol.  Seemed balloons were being inflated but not launched.  One of our radio clug crew was able to tune into the balloon frequency.  It seems that winds aloft were too high.

We spent most of the shift making contacts using digital JT8, basically filling up 2 log pages.  Paying closer attention, I  noticed that the computer was set up to make contacts as the club's call, not the Special Event call "W5B".  Sent a message this evening wondering why this was.

During the shift, winds started picking up at ground level.   Weather forcast for the next 2 days are not for balloon launch.  As a committee member, I will monitor the next couple days until I again have a shift at the Balloon Fiesta Park on Wednesday morning.  At this time, forecast for Wednesday is clear skies, and, hopefully, light winds.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - Day 1

Early depart from the house this morning.  Stopped by IHOP in Rio Rancho (Unser just South of Southern).  I thought perhaps they got their shit together over the last year,  WRONG!  Even with apparent new manager, the service sucked.  It took me half and hour to get an senior order of french toast w/ sausage. And, it was delivered with bacon instead of sausage.

After the disappointed breakfast, I headed to Balloon Fiesta Park.  At 4:00, traffic was already backed up turning off the frontage road, and slow going the street into the park.  It was about 4:15 when I got parked. 

When allowed to the Discovery Tent, I settled into doing final adjustments to the club's display. 

It was a beautiful morning for the start of Balloon Fiesta 2018.  Very light winds, clear sky.  I was a little late getting over to the field for Dawn Patrol.  Was there to catch the Air Force (?) fly-over.  The Canon balloon carried the US Flag aloft with the strains of the National Anthem.  

The field was still in the shadows from the Sandia Mountains when the mass ascension commenced.  Eventually, the sun started illuminated the balloons.  Wave after wave of balloons launched from the field. 

As the mass ascension was tapering off, the crowds started entering the Balloon Discovery Tent.  While testing the radios before the mass ascension, we were able to make a few digital contacts.  Then we had some software glitch.  The other station was able to make a couple SSB contacts.

This year we were set up in the same part of the tent where the astronaut and other speakers held their presentations. They had a strong PA system, which caused it difficult for us to hear folks that may want to discuss ham radio.  We did have some conversations.

A sample of the photos (over 80) I took during the mass ascension are on my facebook page and the club's ( facebook page.

Back tomorrow for the same morning shift.  Hope the weather continues to cooperate.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Balloon Fiests Set-up

After the Thursday coffee/breakfast at Flying Star, nost of the attendees headed over to Balloon Fiesta Park to set up High Desert Amateur Radio Club display for Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta..  In addition to setting up the informational booth shown here, the group erected 3 antennas for HF, VHF, and UHF (high frequency, very-high  frequency, and ultra-high frequency) contacts.

The club will be operating  SSTV (slow-scan TV), voice, digital modes, and "Morse" code.  Two popular Albuquerque area nets will be run fron this station during the fiesta.

At the Balloon Fiesta you will find us in the Balloon Discovery Tent at the North end of the field.  On the air, listen to call-sign W5B.