Category Archives: News

A Quarter of A Century

A Quarter of A Century

That’s right. Today I celebrate my twenty-fifth anniversary of life on Earth. I don’t know why, but other than the presents, Treva making me dinner, and practically everyone in my family calling birthdays don’t seem all that much different than normal days. Not that I’m complaining about any of the above activities, I’m just saying it’s not like when I was a kid and anticipating my birthday was done with a level of excitement akin to that at which I accepted the job I was offered last week.

Ha. See how I casually slipped that in there? You want details now I suppose?

Patience my friend. I’m not done pontificating on my fabulous birthday just yet.

It all started at midnight. The witching hour. O-Dark-O’Clock. The time when normal people are snug in their beds, visions of the crap they have to do the next day dancing in their heads. Me. I’m chilling on the couch since I have been unceremoniously kicked out of the office so Treva can finish “the project.”

The project it seems is a treasure hunt. I am offered a choice however. I can participate in the hunt or wait until 2:31 PM. The time, in this timezone, at which I was born. Not being one to wait for 14 hours for no good reason I opt for option A.

After hunting around the house I have found the following items from my wonderful wife:

  • A t-shirt that in SQL basically says the entire world is clueless
    “SELECT * FROM Users WHERE clue>0”
    “0 Rows returned”.

  • A new earphone for my radio gear. It’s pretty cool. It still allows you to hear ambient noise. Plus it’s clear and clandestine looking.

  • A keychain with flashlight, red blinking beacon, alarm, window punch, and seat belt cutter. Let me tell you, that alarm is pretty loud. Treva desperately wants to find out how the window punch works, but isn’t willing to break a glass to figure it out.

  • A Braille Suduku/Rubix cube

  • A 5 gigabyte flash drive which I have already equipped with mobile applications including OpenOffice and XAMPP (a portable web server)

Right now she’s working on dinner. Steak [that I’ll help grill], baked potatoes, corn, apple salad, and chocolate peanut butter pie. Some of my absolute favs. Excellent!!

[Edit: dinner rocked. I will say that not knowing the filets were wrapped in bacon seriously goofed up my cooking times. Oops. Next time I’m sticking with the serloin.]

The rest of the evening was all kinds of fun. I ran out after dinner for a few minutes with Tony and Rett and picked up a For Sale By Owner sign for the house. When we got back I helped finish the dishes and then we watched Blades of Glory.

Blades of Glory. What can I say. It was… insane. When I first started watching it I thought it was going to end up being Nepolion Dinomite meets Dodgeball meets Highschool Musical. Turns out I was pretty much right. I told Treva it was, at the same time, hilarious, stupid, and incomprehensibly bizarre. I’m still working out whether I’d recommend it to others. If you have two hours of your life you don’t care about ever getting back and want to laugh at “men humor” then this movie is for you.

So, about the job…

*** Flashback ***
Previously on Niner and Associates: Niner was headed to Baltimore for a job interview.

Tuesday the 11th I flew out to Baltimore. Indy wasn’t all that busy and BWI was an absolute ghost town. I was talking to one of the security guards at BWI who said the day before was like a holiday, but almost no one was flying on the 11th. I gotta say if we don’t fly that day, they win. I’m all for remembering the tragedy, because it certainly qualifies as one, but using that as a reason not to fly seemes pointless.

I feel the need to interject one of the lighter moments of the day. I was getting ready to walk through the metal detector and had the following conversation with a TSA employee:

TSA Employee: Sir, I need your shoes.
Me: (removing my shoes and putting them in the bin with my laptop, cell phone, and wallett) No problem.
TE: What kind of belt is that?
Me: (Rearranging my not insignificant ponch so he can see it) Hmm?
TE: You’d better take that off too… and the jacket.
Me: (shrugging) Okay. I just want to say that I have no problem doing this in the name of security, but if you ask for my pants we’re going to have problems…

I spent Tuesday evening with one of the gentlemen from the department I was interviewing with. We had a nice dinner at a local place that was having a killer special on steak. You can’t beat $10.99 for a NY Strip.

Wednesday morning started off in a bit of a panic. I had to reemboss the 3 copies of my resume that I was asked to bring sinceI discovered a horrible formatting error which, if discovered, would have made me look pretty incompetant.

After that, things got better, though not necessarily in the nerve department.

I had 4 meetings that day. One with two people from the department I was interviewing with, one with the head of the Institute that department is under, one with HR, and the final one was with the head of the organization. I have to say the first and last meetings were the most intimidating for me. The first because I was told to, “teach us something,” and the final because I am always intimidated when I meet with this individual.

It turned out really well. I was offered a position and after talking it over with Treva I accepted it.

I will be working for the National Federation of the Blind in the International Braille and Technology Center. This is absolutely one of my dream jobs and I’m so greatful to have the opportunity. It’s going to be a challenge though. Moving across the country, making new friends (we have some out there already which will help a ton) and Treva trying to figure out what she wants to do now. I just keep praying that I’m reading the signs right and we’re heading in the direction God wants us to be heading.

Thursday I flew back to Indiana via Chicago where I spent a fun afternoon with our friend Ronza. We hit up the Cheesecake factory for lunch, did some shopping, and caught part of a random concert in front of the Federal Plaza to celebrate some german restaurant that closed (I don’t really know what the festival was for, someone mentioned October Fest, but I garentee the smell in the air was not sour crout.) before I had to catch my train for the trip to Elkhart.

We spent the weekend with Treva’s family and had a good time. The focus was taken off our moving by other family antics. I’m kind of greatful for that.
*** End Flashback ***

That’s basically the story. I am super excited about the new adventure in our lives. I keep praying for God’s guidance and wisdom in all our decisions though, especially what to do about the house. I’ve got one possible interested party and it would be really sweet if that pans out, but if anyone knows anyone looking for a wheelchair accessible, 3 bedroom house in the Richmond area let me know.

I’ve really got to update more than monthly. These posts keep turning into mini novels.

August Update

August Update

On the off chance that anyone is still reading my blog, I thought I should check-in and tell y’all what’s been happening.

So, work is… work. Pretty much the same garbage, different day. Our boss is completely obsessed with the upcoming strategic planning “event” in September and honestly most of us could not find it in us to care less. It isn’t that planning for the future isn’t important, but when current operations are messed up and we’re having to scramble to keep our heads above water it becomes difficult to not want to get out of the current situation before figuring out what we can do 2-3 years down the road.

On the bright side of work related things I have an interview next month for a job in Baltimore. It’s something I’ve been looking at for a long time and really wanting to do. Next to working in public safety it’s on the top of my list. It would be working with blindness technology and new products and stuff along those lines. More details later if things pan out, but prayers now would really be appreciated. Treva is a little, uh okay a lot, freaked out about moving across the country. If it’s God’s will it will all work out. I’m flying out the 11th and I guess the interview will take most of the day on the 12th.

Let’s see. What else has been going on?

We were on local AM radio the other morning. We talked about the Center we work at and it was kind of cool. I recorded it for posterity sake if anyone is incredibly bored and wants to listen to it :-). I was going to throw it up and call it a Podcast bonus episode, but I figured it really was not that exciting.

Speaking of podcasts, we got a new one up last night. It’s over at

I bought a new toy yesterday too. I finally broke down and bought a Uniden BCD-396T digital scanner. I can actually listen to the new state digital system and other trunked systems when I travel. I had to order it from Milwaukee because the store in Hamilton was out, but it should be here by Wednesday. I hate waiting. 🙂 In the meantime I’m playing around with one of the software packages for programming the thing and learning the new concept of how Uniden’s Dynamic Memory works.

Instead of the way a “traditional” scanner works, where you can store X number of frequencies in y number of banks, Uniden has devised a more logical method of Systems and Groups that more closely mirrors the way radios are used. A system contains groups. In a Conventional system groups hold frequencies. In a Trunked system the system itself holds the frequencies, but groups hold the different talkgroups. So, for example, I have a Conventional system programmed for our local area. There are 5 different groups. Law Enforcement, Fire/EMS/EMA, Municipal Services, Amateur Radio, and Business. It gets a little more complex when you try to program a multi-site trunked system like we have in Indiana. I’ll spare you the technical details, because I’m guessing I’ve made at least a few of your eyes glaze over already, but this type of Trunked system works quite similarly to a cellular telephone network. Each radio can affiliate with one or more towers and unless a tower has a radio affiliated with a specific talkgroup it will not push that talkgroup out on itself. A talkgroup is basically like a channel in a “normal” system. The basic problem in programming one of these systems is which tower sites to program and how to do it. Option A is to put all the control channels into one system and whichever the scanner locks onto first that’s the tower you will hear traffic from. Option B is to create different systems for every control channel. This way, you can hear traffic from multiple towers. The downside to Option B is that it takes up more space in the scanner’s memory. The downside to Option A is that if you can actually pick up more than one tower it won’t scan them both because it stops on the first control channel it finds. I’m starting with Option A because I don’t think I can hear many control channels from here. In playing around with a different radio I was only able to hear one of the two towers in my county. Basically, what the whole affiliation thing boils down to is who you can hear and where. If, for example, an ISP unit is affiliated with the Henry county tower and I can’t hear the henry county control channel, I won’t hear that unit unless another ISP unit, in the same talkgroup, is affiliated with a tower I can pick up. This doesn’t affect dispatch since they are connected via wireline at the console to the Zone Controller and don’t really care about the towers. We’ll see how this all works when I actually get my hands on the radio.

Right. Enough of the boring stuff. That’s about all that’s been going on. Now it’s time for work. 🙂

I Will Not Be Eating There For A While

I Will Not Be Eating There For A While

Every so often the local paper publishes the results of the Health Department’s inspections of local eateries and other establishments involved in the preparation, sale, and/or distribution of food and food like products.

This month’s “EWWW! That’s. So. Nasty.” award goes to.

*drum roll*

Bob Evans Restaurant 454, 950 Mendleson Drive, Richmond, Sept. 21. Critical — 6: 1) Employees were observed changing gloves without washing their hands. 2) An employee was observed placing cheese on top of an omelet with bare hands. 3) An employee was observed handling raw sausage patties and bacon and then handling toast without changing gloves. 4) Cottage cheese at the waitress station measured 46. 5) The can opener in the rear prep area is soiled with a build-up of food debris. 6) Clean dishes stored in the salad prep cooler are soiled with a build-up of fallen food debris. Non-Critical — 1.

That, in case you are wondering, is why I will only consume food at the east side location for the time being.

*cringe* BLECK!

Maryland Governer Chooses Blind Running Mate

Maryland Governer Chooses Blind Running Mate

Awesome! She’s a great lady too. She’s the former Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs for the NFB.

Md. governor chooses blind running mate
6/29/2006, 12:12 p.m. CT
The Associated Press

(AP) – ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Gov. Robert Ehrlich announced Thursday that Kristen Cox,
the state disabilities secretary, will be his new lieutenant governor running mate.

Cox said she agreed to join the ticket in part because the governor has stepped up for people with disabilities who, she said, “tend to be marginalized, overlooked, diminished.”

Cox praised Gov. Ehrlich for making Maryland the first state in the nation to have a cabinet-level Department of Disabilities. The state’s department was created under Ehrlich in 2004.

Before she joined the Ehrlich administration, she worked for the U.S. Department of Education and the National Federation of the Blind. She is legally blind. She will replace Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele on the ticket;
Steele is running for the U.S. Senate.