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Online discourse

I am being charitable in the term discourse. Recently I added a comment to a Youtube file, the audio of fire department radio transmissions following a spectacular gas explosion. I was critical of the commander’s conduct on the air, something I think I can do based on both my professional background and the fact that I am a tax payer in Seattle. I was quickly flamed by anonymous posters who not only disagreed that the commander’s conduct was inadequate, but castigated me for

So Long Dick

An old family friend passed away about six weeks ago. Last weekend I flew to San Mateo, California and attended a memorial service for him on behalf of my family and, in particular, on behalf of my mother and my late father. Dick and his late wife Sally went back to 1950 with our family. Here are my remarks. Dick Patton was Dad’s best hunting and fishing parter. They met in 1950 when they were both waiting for the phone to ring in the Sims and Grupe real estate office in Stoc

General Ham I Am

That’s the General Class Amateur Radio Operator, the next level above Technician which I passed about a month ago. I figured I would reach for the added privileges while I was still “hot” at exam taking. The iPad app was most helpful and after taking practice exams about 20 times, I was ready. I got just one wrong on the 35 question test. Now I can use the high frequency bands, the ones that usually require large radio sets, accessory appliances, and elaborate antennas. The H

Ham I Am

I am now officially KG7LEA for the next ten years! A week ago I took and passed my amateur radio Technician Class exam, one wrong answer out of 35. I checked this morning and the FAA database has my call sign listed and I am free to transmit on any of the authorized frequencies. I am mostly interested in ham radio to be able to help out in the event of an emergency. I’ve trained as a NERT in San Francisco, as a CERT in Seattle, and have drilled with the local volunteers with


I am experimenting with Twitter. I don’t have a particular need for tweeting, but I felt compelled to learn more after an emergency in the neighborhood on a Sunday night. We wanted to know what was going on and none of the radio stations or their web sites had any coverage. I went to Twitter because I knew that the police department uses tweets. Sure enough there was enough of a blurb to help us understand that there was a robbery/homicide. Very tragic. So I signed up and sta

A Bold History

The book launch at Queen Anne Books in Seattle went well. The book store staff (thank you Tegen) was very gracious and had a beautiful display of the books at a signing table. They even had to pull me away from a beer next door to come back and sign another book, a story that will undoubtedly feature in my unofficial biography. Update: Rachel Hart of Seattle magazine has chosen the book as her Holiday Gift Pick. As of December 15, most retailers are out of the book.

More Snow

It snowed last weekend, Friday morning, Saturday night, and Sunday night. The total accumulation here on the north side of Queen Anne Hill is nine to twelve inches. Things are a mess. Yesterday I dug out my 4WD pickup truck and almost got stuck before I pulled back into my parking place which means we are pretty much snow bound. I will try again today. Other cars are making it up the hill and my truck has good snow tires. It’s probably a matter of technique. Here is my neighb

Snow Day

It’s hard to imagine that forty years ago Seattle endured two significant storms a season without too much difficulty. Indeed there were street closures and hellish commutes, but residents and officials worked through it all. There is so little snow these days that I don’t even have a shovel (I left it in Illinois in 1985). My bag of salt, which I found in the basement when I moved in ten years ago is finally gone. The hardware store is sold out.

Summer Solstice 2008

Here in Seattle is the neighborhood of Fremont, “The Center of the Universe.” In addition to a colorful bridge across the Lake Washington Ship Canal Fremont has an nuclear missile and a statue of Lenin, both obtained surplus after the collapse of the Soviet Union. At one time Fremont was something of a funky artists’ colony, but gentrification sent them packing for more reasonable rental markets. It was during the funky years that they started celebrating the Summer Solstice,

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