MY EVOLUTION

I was on the internet forum this morning and one of the subjects appearing asked the question: What do you prefer – 32 bit or 64 bit operating system? I never responded to the question as I’m not a geek. My first thought was, “Who cares as long as when I turn it on, it works!” After I drove out this morning I got to thinking about my evolution in computers. I had to stop and think back to the first time I saw a computer up live.
In the early ’80s I had a friend who was going on vacation and asked if I could “baby sit” his computer as he didn’t want to leave it at home while gone, so I said OK. He brought it over, set it up and showed me out to start it. If I remember right, it had to start in the DOS mode. It had two games on it he showed me how to play – Star Trek and asteroids. While it was at my house I turned it on a few times and played a couple rounds, but it wasn’t as exciting to me as reloading, tanning hides and such, so it mainly just took up space. I didn’t have to feed it, water it, clean up after it, so was a fairly easy babysitting job! It wasn’t until many moons later I really got introduced to computers.
I’d moved to Denmark and transferred to the 7th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM). Since there were no combat units, I was put into a headquarters type unit, completely foreign to this guy. In this unit I was around computers, saw people working them, but my job didn’t call for me to use one, so I stuck to the good old fashion maps with icons! Slowly but surely I got sucked into the computer operator mode as I worked night shift and needed to input and extract data. Ok it was basic and I kind of learned. That all changed in 1994 when I went to work at the V Corps HQ Emergency Action Center (EAC) in Frankfurt, Ge. This was during the Rwanda deal. I’ll never forget my first shift. I was the night shift NCOIC. As I was coming on duty, the day shift Operations Officer, a Major came to me, handed me a 3.5 disk and said, “SSG Dawson, you need to get this power point presentation updated for my 0800 briefing.” “Yes Sir” I replied as he handed me the disk and walked off. I must have had that lost puppy look on my face because a Specialists 4, sitting in front of a computer looked at me, “SSG Dawson, don’t worry, I can do that.” I looked back at him and told him ok, tonight, but during our slow time he was going to give me computer lessons so I could do my job. I found out power point was a lot more difficult than setting explosives to blow a bridge(piece of cake for me). So during the next few months I was there I learned “computer language”. I wasn’t fluent, just good enough to stay afloat. Right then I realized I needed to get one and start learning for real. When I got home I told the wife we needed to get one. She couldn’t see why we needed one and was against it, but we ended up at a store looking and soon purchased our first computer – the latest, greatest, fastest model on the market: 256 mega-bite hard drive with a 4 mega-bite ram. I soon purchased an additional 4 mega-bites of ram and I was in business. You know what the best part of this computer was – it came with the Windows 3.0 system disks so I could reload the system after I crashed the computer (which I did several times)! I can remember having to reload the system twice in a single day!!
I needed to get use to using it, so I decided to write something – that’s how the book GUIDE’S LIFE was born. I just needed to use it, but at home there wasn’t much use, so I wrote because back then all my life as a professional guide was still very fresh in my memory!
Well life evolved. A couple years later I got called into V Corps to work with some of their planners. They were developing a terrain management program which would greatly assist my work, and as I’d developed extensive knowledge in this area I assisted them in developing a program. I have no idea where it went after I moved on.
By now I’d been promoted to Master Sergeant (MSG) and was the NCOIC of the 317th RAOC. The 7th ARCOM saw fit to issue me a laptop computer with portable color printer! So now I carried this back and forth every month to drill. While at home, we didn’t have the internet, so I’d make a collect call to the ARCOM HQ, then they’d call me back with the phone line connection. It was great (very slow compared to now), I could communicate with my commander, get e-mail and such. Soon I told the wife we needed to get the internet. Again, it was “What do we need that for?” She was totally against it, but we did. By now our PC had increased as well. After I got online and our PC up to speed, I no longer carried the laptop, I’d carry those 3.5 discs .
Windows advanced and so did I. I no longer crashed the complete program. I somehow learned to operate the thing. After we got the internet connection it took a while for the wife to get on it. Soon I’d never have a peaceful evening – it was always “Mike, can you come in here?” She was going through her own growing pains, but she got it. Now you ought to hear the fur fly when there’s no internet, the computer doesn’t work right or something. She also discovered “shop on line”! She couldn’t live without it!
After I retired from the military I found my “productive” use of the computer dropped. I can go a whole day without it I don’t care, except for my work, I do like it for my bookkeeping program and it’s been great in my new found writing career. What is the one thing I’m most happy with about a computer? The fact Mrs. Mills taught me to type in high school!!

IF I WERE PRESIDENT

On the day of my inauguration, on the podium, I’d take the speech written for me by some speech writer, wad it up and throw it away. Then I’d begin by talking directly to the American public. I’d first lay out the fact I’m not politically correct and I will rub some people the wrong way and piss others off. I’d then proceed to tell the public I wasn’t elected to be nice, I was elected to run a country, to lay out a direction it much take. I’d then pull out a copy of our Constitution and let people know this is the document which must drive the direct our country takes. I would also call on the American people for help – to give me line by line veto powers. I’d tell them elections are again coming and if their Senators and Representatives don’t want to play ball, then they will vote them out of office. People want to get finances under control? – then get rid of all the pork barrel spending. But it will take “WE THE PEOPLE” to get it done. Then it would come time for a little open air, wall-to-wall counseling!
My attention would be directed to the leaches of Washington DC, you know – the lobbyists. I would inform them to take their money somewhere else. If they were being directed by foreign interests – get out of town. I would push for a lobbyists free zone – Washington DC! The majority of our Congressmen, after being in office for such a long time should be working for free! They don’t need the health care plans. Do you know there are more millionaires in Congress than any large body of citizens?
Then when the next session of Congress opens, I’ll be there. I ain’t going to wait for the State of the Union. I’m going to look them in the eye and tell them to get off their fat, money stuffed asses and do something – something for the PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES. Stop thinking about money, special interests and start thinking about our nation as a whole. They’d better remember the old saying, “What’s fair for the gander is fair for the goose!”. Congress needs to find their pension is now resting in the hand of the Social Security system they have continued to rob. They will find they are covered by the same insurance system our Armed Services are covered by. And I will call for term limits. No one should have power for as long as many of them have. They’ve forgotten where they came from and who they work for. Where else does a servant make more money, better benefits than the master? Congress is the SERVANT of “WE THE PEOPLE”! Even if I piss them off and they all unite against me, well at least I will have united Congress on something!
Next I’d be for getting rid of the Federal overseeing of our education. This needs to go back to the States. We’ve got too much Federal government peeking over our shoulders, pass more responsibility to where it should be. One thing I would direct to be taught is the Constitution. I would push for everyone in the beginning of their highs school required to know this document – no passing grade, no graduation!
Borders, Language, Culture! These are the things which define a nation. I wish I’d thought of it, but I didn’t, it was a great man called Michael Savage, radio talk show host, author (most recent: Government Zero, No Borders, No Language, No Culture)! You want to immigrate to the States, then you NEED TO LEARN ENGLIGH! Why are we publishing election ballots in different languages? English should be made our national language! There’s nothing wrong with coming and sharing customs from another country, but just remember where you wanted to live, work, study. I would put the border States on notice, they need to be assisting the Border Patrol in securing our borders, get their Nation Guard out and assist. Illegal persons will be immediately sent back. Yea, I know a lot of businesses rely on illegal help, well get it squared away, get them legal, get them seasonal work permits. Get some control over the situation. Again as I see it, it’s mostly the money grubbers behind a lot of what we got now. I have nothing against legal immigration, that’s what the rules and regulations are for. We got enough laws on the books, we just need to start enforcing them! And just because you’re born here while mom and dad are on vacation or whatever, that doesn’t automatically make you a citizen!
The welfare system we got today will no longer be. Yes I admit there are those who really are in need, but then there’s the professional welfare milkers! If you want on welfare, then you will first be required to take a drug test to sign up, then random checks there after. If you fail, you’re gone. Those on welfare will be required to do community service, a minimum of 20hrs a week. You got kids – no problem we got enough people on welfare to open child care. There’s all kinds of jobs to be done in our communities. I learned early in life, if you want to eat, you got to work.
I was in the fifth grade the first time I heard the word “allowance”. I was with a group of boys and one asked me how much allowance I got. I looked surprised and asked what that was. He explained it was the money I received from my parents every week for cleaning up my room, making my bed, chores around the house. I replied, “I don’t get money for things I got to do around the house, those are my responsibility.” The kid looked shocked and asked me how I got my spending money. I said I had to make an arrangement with my Dad to do extra work for money. Also the things I wanted weren’t the things he wanted, so I had to pay for them. This came as a surprise to the other boys. I learned early nothing in life was free – I guess these other boys are ones ruining, I mean running our country today!
Yea, if I was President I’d probably piss a lot of people off, but some of you could look on the bright side: After I wanted to close the Federal Reserve (which is a private bank and has nothing to do with the federal government except take our money) and returned the finances of our country back to the Department of the Treasury (what are they for anyway), and get the people to rise up and demand term limits for Congress, someone would probably have me shot and return everything back to what we got now!
Just think, we’ve got an election coming up this next year. Many of you will not vote because you don’t think it will make a difference. Well all I can say, if you don’t vote, don’t talk. And when you do vote, don’t be a Democrat or Republican – BE AN AMERICAN! I hope I’ve pissed some of you off and got your dander up to write some rude, obnoxious replies, at least that way I know I’ve touch a bone!

DRIVING

At times when I’m driving down the road, my brain becomes so full I just got to get some place to empty it out, well today was one of those days!
I’m not the perfect driver, never claimed to be. Yea, I’ve probably pissed a few people off, but no one has ever contacted me, so I guess it can’t be too bad. Driving here in Denmark as been something else, I’ve learned a lot about people, situations and life.
The speed limit on most roads is 80kmh (about 50 for you mph people). This morning as I am relaxed, driving 80 on cruise control, zoom, zoom, two cars go past me like I’m standing still. It use to bother me, but not anymore. I’ve come to understand that early in the mornings Danish driving laws are not in effect – there are no police out on the roads patrolling! Everyone knows that, so early mornings there is no speed limits! I’ve come to learn I am usually the slowest one on the roads, I guess because I need my driver’s license for work and I’m use to Idaho, where the cops can be sitting in the dark and ambush ya! You’d think I’d learn, but old habits are hard to break. Also in Idaho, speeding tickets(and other tickets as well) are also tied to your vehicle insurance. You get tickets, you pay twice – once to the State, and again to your insurance company. This has a tendency to make people slow down a bit as it takes about three years to clear a ticket from your insurance, and that can become expensive after a while. It’s a double win, insurance companies make money, the State collects fines. Double loose for the driver!
The best thing I like is the bicycles, ya just got to love ’em! Winter time is the worst, I try to stay clear of any cities. Many people become stupid in the winter time, I think it is because of the long dark winter nights. Many days it’s overcast all day so there’s not enough sunshine to stimulate people’s brains. I see many bicycle riders with a little blinking light on the back, but nothing on the front. I wonder how they expect on coming cars to see them, I’m guessing that thought never crossed their minds. I also like the ones riding in town – it’s not dark, there’s street lights, so everyone can see them! Then there’s good old farmer Joe who doesn’t figure anyone will be on the road so he has no lights at all!!
Summer time is a little better, at least the days are longer and you can see them, clumps of them all over the road! I’m guessing they pay more road taxes than I do because many of them ride the roads like they own it. When I was a kid riding a bike, I was taught to ride on the right side of the road – going the same direction as traffic, ride to the side of the road as cars are bigger than I was, ride single file not to take up the whole road, use arm signals when turning left or right. One great thing here in Denmark is all the money the country spends on separate bike lanes! This is a fantastic thing, get the bikes off the busy streets. This past summer I was driving on my way home and ahead of me was two bike riders, riding side by side, taking up half my lane, but this wasn’t the stupid thing – there was a separate bike lane just two meters to their right! As I slowed down waiting for the oncoming car so I could swerve out to pass them I thought to myself, “Boy, I hope this couple never plans on having kids, their gene pool is already pretty shallow!”
As I’ve been out of Idaho for some years now, I’m just assuming (bad thing to do) most driving customs are worldwide: It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s ok to stop in the middle of the road and talk out the window with an oncoming car who has stopped to talk to you. When on the freeway (motorway) and you pass someone, after you get around and in front of them, slow down so the person you passed has to either slow down or go around. It doesn’t matter if its foggy, the speed limit is 130kph and you should be able to drive it. No sense in leaving early in the mornings when the roads are icy, most of “those” people will be off the road anyway! The posted speed limit is mandatory to drive, you must not drive one mile(kilometer) under! I know a lot of Idaho drivers would do good here in Denmark because there aren’t many stop signs – no tickets for those “California” stops here! I learned early on if you stop at an intersection, look both ways before proceeding, people get pissed off – they blow their horns, blink their lights, wondering what you’re stopped for!!
I’m ok now, my brain has been emptied for now, so I can go back to work!!

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of my readers! I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading some of the “stuff” that pops into the head of this crazy old guy. I write pretty much how I feel and what I feel. I try to avoid being politically correct as I see no sense in it. But that’s not this writing (unless my title offends you). This one is a little about my past year.
Many times I feel as 2015 has just begun, but suddenly I find myself in December and realize the year is gone. I have no idea where it went but it did. I guess the old say of “The older you get the faster time flies” is true.
2015 is somewhat of a mile stone for me, I was 59yrs old this year, thus I had to get my retirement packet put together so I can begin to draw my hard earned Army Reserve retirement pay. I spent 22yrs, 4 months, 18 day (according to my records) of my life defending my country and trying to get set up for when “I get old”! Putting this packet together has really had an effect on me. Next year I’ll be 60yrs old! When I turned 30, it was nothing. 50 was just another day, but 60 – it’s really something for me. It’s not that I’m old, old is only in your mind, but my body does tell me I’m not 20yrs old anymore! My body doesn’t seem to recover as fast as it did before. This year I got the bicep muscle in my left arm torn by a horse, it took about 3 month to recover from that (is it because I worked every day after?), then last week I had a horse kick me down, landing directly on the elbow of my left arm. I really thought I’d broken something, but I didn’t. I did learn old bones don’t bounce so good anymore.
The summer was a little different. We had a little cooler weather than usual (global warming?) and a good amount of rain. I noticed many of the farmers around were a little later this year in the harvest.
Jette went to a fair amount of horse show. She did have a couple disappointments. She wanted to attend a big show, but two weeks before her horse came up lame. She has worked so hard, so long to get ready and then couldn’t go. It was a big disappointment. Yet she was able to attend many shows and did real well, coming home with those blue ribbons and trophies!
We make a good team. I make the money and she spends it! Na, in all reality we do have a great team. She always lets me know when she’s headed to Kolding to visit her brother(weekly) so if I need any shoes or supplies, I just phone in my order and she picks it up, really saves me a lot of time. She also is the finance minister! She pays the bills, keeps track of paying all the taxes on the business and such. I’m so lucky to have her as she does a really good job. If she didn’t do it, I’d have that headache to deal with. I am so lucky.
On the flip side, when she goes to horse show, I am home to take care of the horses and dogs. Once we went to a big international horse show and got someone to watch the place. When we got back we found a party had taken place in our house – last time. I’ve change my work schedule around so from around March through October when she want to go to shows, I am available to take care of the place. Then winter time is my turn to take off. Some people don’t seem to understand, but our animals are OUR responsibility and we take it very seriously!
I took my usual ten days in Portugal. It was a relief to get away from horses, customers and telephones. I got a friend who lives in the mountains there, so it is always a relief to visit the mountains again. I think this is the biggest thing I miss about Idaho!
I must say I’ve got a great bunch of customers and horses to work on. Many I’ve had for years, some I’ve just acquired. Because of my physical condition, I’ve learned where my daily limits are and I don’t work over them. If I don’t take care of myself, no one will. I’ve had many challenging cases this year. After so many years as a farrier there are still new things to learn and problems crop up that still make me scratch my head!
Next year will be here soon and I’ll do the same thing, wonder where it’s gone, except I will get over 60yrs old (God willing). I hope each and every one of you have had a great year and that next year will be full of fun, surprises, family and joy. May God Bless everyone of you and your families!