Saturday, July 30, 2011

Learning the ropes

    So as you may remember from my previous post last Wednesday, I had chosen to develop for Mac OS and iOS rather than the Google Android OS. I also wanted to see if someone could be self taught to do this and actually become a capable programmer.

    Before we get too far down the rabbit hole I should bring you up too speed on my current knowledge of computers, programming and generally all things electronic. First, I am a gadget geek. I love gadgets. I don't really own a lot of a gadget's, but I do like to follow tech news and try to stay on top of what is out there and what is coming soon. Part of the reason for this is just good old-fashioned consumer information. As a good example of one of my blunders, three days after I purchased my Macbook Pro Apple released the newer model. It happens. I could have returned my Macbook, the Apple Store where I purchased it included a 30 day unconditional return policy, and then re-purchased the new model. It may have even been the smart thing to do. Fortunately for me Mac's tend to last for many years.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Of books and electrons ...

    I love books, all kinds of books. I can read a user manual the same way I read a good piece of fiction. I love to learn new things as much as I like to get lost in my imagination as I am swept away on a galactic quest to save the universe. Books can inspire, teach, inform and even change opinions. Books are a very powerful thing.

    Books are things. They can be held, burned and even torn apart. The feel of paper against your fingers is a very real sensation. Seeing words printed on a page gives them a sense of finality that is hard to explain or quantify. Most of us have been reading books since before we can remember, from the earliest days of our youth.

    I own many books. Nothing rare or exotic, but I do own a lot of them. They take up more space than I initially imagined. Whenever I get a new book, I look at its small size and think nothing of where to put it when I am done with it. I just buy it, read it and if the book is lucky I will take the time to find a nook to cram it into on one of my many book shelves. More than likely it will get moved from coffee table to the end table, from there to the headboard, then on to my desk, and finally back to coffee table more times than I can count. Eventually, it will most likely end up in an unlabeled cardboard box in the storage shed. It seems like a semi-tragic end for a thing that, at least for a time, brought me some small semblance of joy. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

XCode and Apple ...

<Nerd Speak Ahead>

    In an earlier post, I discussed my thoughts on whether or not I should learn to develop applications in Java or Apple's proprietary version of Objective-C known as Cocoa. At this point I feel I am obligated to at least re-cap some of the arguments for each.

    In favor of Java: There is a mountain of resources for learning the language. It is fairly well known and cross-platform (meaning you can get Java applications on just about anything from PC's to smart phones). It is well understood by the development community and has a very wide install/user base. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Some changes

    I am still in the process of learning how to use all of the tools available to me on this blog, and this time I have made some changes to the Template. I will be making more changes as the week progresses, but for now I feel it is important to start building towards the "look & feel" that I am after. I would like the time readers spend on here actually reading my blog to enjoy themselves.

    This is actually fairly involved, more so than I have time for tonight. It includes everything from color to font selection. The myriad of choices is a bit daunting, however I am working my way through them and hope to have a well planned and laid out blog by the end of the week.

    I also began my day job this week. Yup, back to work, vacation is over. Phooey. Oh well, at least it pays the bills.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blogging takes times

    Blogging, I have discovered takes a bit of time. It's not just taking the time to actually sit down and write a post, and hope it is at least mildly entertaining. It also includes taking the time to publish, publicize, design, set layouts, choose fonts and so much more. While this is not my first blog, it is the first one I have actually tried to keep going for more than five posts.

     Today I hit 100 views on this blog. Not really a high number considering it has been going for more than a month. Still, the blog is new, and I am new to it.

    I think I am starting to work out what this blog will be about. Recently I started to "tag" my posts to make them easier to search, and find things. Really, the only tag I have used more than once so far is "Android". I have used that one 3 times. Does than mean that I am going to make this yet another "Android" blog? No. Not at all. What I mean is, I think I am starting to get a feel for what it means to blog regularly. It takes time.

Android vs iOS ... it's not what you think

    Android or iOS? That is the question that confounds my thoughts.

    Not which is better, or more popular, or even easier to use. What I am looking for is which platform do I learn to write software for? I seem to be good at putting my time into the wrong one. I have already wasted years learning to develop on Microsoft Windows and Windows Mobile. Part of the reason I did nothing special with either of them was a decisive lack of joy.

    Yes Windows will get the job done, most of the time, but that doesn't mean you are going to enjoy getting it done. The user experience for most Windows users is one of constant updates, clearing of caches, deleting of cookies, scanning for viruses and installing yet more software to make some piece of mundane hardware work until then next Windows update renders the drivers obsolete or unstable. My years with Microsoft and their operating systems dates back before Windows, before all of this WYSIWYG computing. I remember using computers before Microsoft ever released DOS 2.1 to the public. Yes, I have been using computers since the days of CP/M machines. For those you who are too young to know what a CP/M computer is, consider yourself lucky.

Timezones suck

    OK, I went on a bit of a rant with the last post, but sometimes you just need to get stuff out. I did, however, appear to make a minor error in the last post. Apparently the date on the post had rolled over to the next day on me. I am assuming that this is because I am way out in the Pacific Ocean and the Google servers are somewhere on the mainland. I hate timezones.

    I ran in to the same thing, only worse, in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a weird 30 minute time offset from regular time zones. What I have learned (From this wiki article) is that times zones are messed up all over the place. Most of them have been set for one arbitrary reason or another that has no real world value.

    So, what does all this mean. Nothing really. I just find it really annoying that for the better part of the last five years I have been in timezones that are way off from anyone that I actually know, or have any reason to contact. Outside of my immediate family that is. Even my son (when he is in school) is four hours ahead of me.

    I have decided that I don't like timezones. There. I said it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week 6 ... and I have not killed anyone yet

    That is correct, its been six weeks and I still have not killed anyone. Yeah me! Wait, maybe some background would help.

    Six weeks ago today was Father Day, the first day in many that was smoke free. Yes, the day before Father Day was the last day I smoked a cigarette, or used any other nicotine product. After six weeks, I can now proclaim that I am smoke free! Yeah me!

    Well sort of ...

    Before I get to deep in to this, yes I am breaking my promise not to get too personal on this blog. I know you are also (probably) wondering why I need to devote an entire blog post about it. I am sure you are asking why even put that kind of information out there, or why not just make it a Google+ or Facebook snip-it, or even worse a Tweet! Well I don't have (and hope I never have) a twitter account. I will hold back my feelings about Twitter for now. That topic could be it's very own post, or even a web site.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Its been a while ...

    Yes, I have been away from the blog for a few days and I do apologize. My birthday was over the weekend and I enjoyed it immensely. There was no cake, no ice cream, no fanfare. No, instead I chose to just have a really great day with my family. But I digress, I promised I wouldn't get too personal on this blog. So there it is, I am a year older now. On to the post at hand.

    While I was away from the blog I found a great way to take screenshots of my Android phone. With one tiny app that requires no additional software on my Mac I can now take screen shots with my web browser like this one:

    The Android app is called PicMe and is available in the Android Market. It does require "root" to use. Their are other "non-root user" ways to take a screen shot, even get live video of your phone working. I merely had no intention of installing the Android Development Kit and other pieces of software on my Mac to get it done. I wanted a nice simple solution, and this is the one I have found that works for me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google Search Links Highjacked, and how to fix them

    It has come to my attention that Google Search Results can be highjacked. This has apparently hit the military community as well, redirecting traffic from the link you click to a web page that will attempt to steal your data. Google searches for the problem (ironic eh?) showed this to be a fairly large problem.

    First, some background information. This is not a Google issue, it is yours. Google did not get "hacked" or "hijacked" or anything of the sort, you did. If this happens to you, it is because your system is infected with a very malicious piece of malware that you managed to pickup.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Review: Google+ Android App

    Once again I bring you another review. This time, it is the Google+ Android Application available on the Android Market Place. Its free, so if you have an Android phone and a Google+ account, feel free to give it a spin.

    I really wish I could take a screen shots of my phone, but at this moment I cannot. I looked into it and I would need to install a lot of software that I don't need and would never use in order do it. So for now anyway, that option is not available.

    On to the app. The app itself is fairly small at 7.87Mb and only using 7.97Mb of space on the phone itself. It does however require quite a few permissions. It needs access to: Your Personal Information, Default, Your Location, Network Communication, Your Accounts, Storage, Phone Calls, System Tools. Most of this I understand, and there is not too much to worry about. The part about "Your Personal Information" is for reading contact data. I would assume this is so it can offer you more "suggestions" for people to add to your circles, but that is just an assumption. The reason for the "Phone Calls" is to (from the app) "read phone state and identify". This is probably so it doesn't interfere with calls and to "identify" the phones owner ( address) so it links to the correct Google+ account. Again I am assuming here, and you know what they about assuming anything.

    I have a first generation Motorola Droid phone, on that screen the widget is full width, so make sure you have space on a desktop for it. From there you can launch the Google+ app, post messages, take and share photo's, or review photo's already uploaded.

    The main feature about the app that I really like is the "Auto Upload". What it does is upload photos as you take them to a "private" library on your Google+ account. No one can see them yet. You can still Select photo's to share from your phone end even leave comments about them, but the "Auto Uploaded" photo are not shared by default. This is great just in case you snap that really embarrassing one.

    From the app itself you can view streams, photo's, your profile, circles, and even start a huddle on your phone or join one already in progress. The app really is smart for the most part. Once again however, Google+ drops the ball on notification. For some reason I am forced to acknowledge the same notifications four or five times before it goes away. Since this is the same problem that I was concerned with in my post about Google+ (the site), I am once again being forced to assume it is a notification problem with the site, and not with the Android App itself.

    For the most part, even on my now venerable first generation moto-droid, the app is very responsive and the simple interface doesn't feel at all cluttered. In fact, at times it actually feels like they are going out of their way to use space. There really is a lot of room for more "stuff." Then again, if your phone is even older than mine, you may have a bit of a problem. I really wouldn't think so, but stranger things have happened.

    I did have one issue that may or may not be related to the app itself. When I got home to plug in phone to my MacBook Pro, the application was still uploading the last photo. I made the mistake of mounting the SD Card to gain access to the pictures via my laptop. Rather than the app just quitting, or otherwise stop what it was doing, the app forced a rather rapid restart of the phone. No warnings or nice shutdown screen. Just a blank screen, then a clean boot screen animation. I gave the phone a few moments to complete this. It is getting on in age and it can take some time to get going. Sort of like me in the morning.

    Overall I give the app four and half stars. There is definitely room for the app to do more than it does, but then again I like the clean interface. They also need to fix that darn notification issue. Ack!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What would it take for you give up cable tv?

Today I made a very large decision, I turned off my cable TV. I did not switch to satellite or some other paid medium, I just shut it all off. My house phone was through the cable company so that went also. All I have left is a 15Mb/Sec connection to the internet and three smart phones, and I couldn't be happier.

My bill from Oceanic Cable (Time Warner) here in Hawaii was $165.83 per month. Now its $49.91. That is a savings of $115.92 per month. Really the only shows we watched were True Blood on HBO and Criminal Minds. That's it really. We just couldn't justify paying $115 for access to two serialized TV shows we can download from the internet that we are already paying for.

Of course the big question is now what? I have this really great entertainment system, surround sound and everything, and no High-Def cable TV. What do I do now? Well, a few things.

First, I have had a Netflix account for quite some time now and most of the movies and TV shows that I watch are already streaming in HD. I even find shows I would have never found otherwise with Netflix. It really is great.

Second, I purchased a Roku player. My biggest worry about dropping cable TV was live news. Sure there is a lot of News Feeds via the internet, but for some reason I am hung up on live news. Maybe its a generational thing. Who knows? Roku solved that with a few options. The live news feeds I can watch currently are CNN International, Aljazeera, RT (Russian News) and BBC Word Service. While more are always being added I also get CNN, Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, and even news from KJCT in Grand Junction, CO. as pre-recorded feeds. They are never more than a couple hours old so I am not really missing much with the time zone changes anyway.

Also, since I have switched to Mac over a PC I can stream my entire iTunes library (music, video, hd movies, whatever) to my XBox, and thus to my TV from my MacBook Pro.

If all of this is so great what about the two shows you gave up for this savings? EhhemTorrentsEhhe, cough. That has been worked out as well. There is always a way to gain access to media via the internet.

If you want to save a whole lot of money ($115.92/month * 12 months = $1,391.04/year) you may want to take some time and re-evaluate what you actually take the time to watch on TV and decide for yourself if the cost is worth those few shows. Of course this option is not for everyone, so chose wisely and really look at your own situation before deciding.

Running like a ... cool breeze

I went for a run today, and I enjoyed it. It has been a very long time since I went running and I was surely feeling it, especially at the end. The run lasted for two miles and took me about seventeen minutes. I would like to cut a full two minutes off that time. It's not a question of "if" i can, its more of a question of motivation. You see, I hate physical training. It is boring for the most part. I have been trying to find ways to make it fun, I really have.

The closest I have come is by using a program called "Cardio Trainer" for Android. I plug in my head phones and start running. It plays music and gives me spoken time and distance while I run. I even have a playlist just for running, though I have to take "Turn Up The Radio" by "Autograph" off of it. The beat just isn't fast enough for the pace I need to be running at.

Honestly I would like to get my two mile down to around 15 minutes or less. For those people who think in terms of marathons, 2 miles is just shy of 5k and is about 1/8th of a full marathon. My best run time ever for two miles was 13 minutes 47 seconds. I puked at the end; wasn't a good look for me.
It is strange, but every time I quit smoking, I go slower on my runs. At least this time I have some time to get ready before the next PT Test. If it wasn't for the PT Test the Army would be the easiest job I have ever had. Anyone can do this, it's easy.

Still I am working on making myself better. Of course all this comes after months of doing nothing besides just lounging around. Its going to hurt for a week or so, but I will get back in to the grove.
My Current "Run Music" Playlist
  1.  Turn Up The Radio - Autograph (Getting Deleted and replaced later)
  2.  Back In Black - AC/DC
  3.  Rag Doll - Aerosmith
  4.  Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm
  5.  Takin' Care Of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  6.  Mobile - Avril Lavine
  7.  No Rain - Blind Melon
I would appreciate any suggestions for a good running music. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Post #6

Yup ... I did it. I made it past five posts. That's the normal life span of any blog I have ever created. Ever. This is officially post number six. Yeah me!

In all honesty I never expected to make it this far. I am still not sure how much further I will go with it, or what I plan to do with it. I have read a few "guides" on blogging. You know, "What makes a successful blog...", "How to blog ... " and such crap. Most of them have some of the same advice you found when the internet was young, and dialed into. It was the same advice for creating home pages. "Link to as many ...", "You should ...". It was all crap. I even found a blog on how to blog. How sad is that.

I do not consider myself a "blogger". I am just a guy who needs an outlet for writing. Note I didn't say good writing. I just like to write, and sometimes I find what comes out interesting, kind of like going to the bathroom. You know you need to do it, and sometimes you look at the results and say, "huh ... I wasn't expecting that ..."

I am no novelist or poet, no journalist or biographer. I am just a guy who likes to write about the random stuff that crosses my brain. Sometimes it isn't complete crap, sometimes it's even bearable. Once in a great while I even like what I write. If not the exact words, the premise and the ideas that made the words I enjoy. I guess you can say I am introvert trying to be an extrovert. Of course you can say that. Your not me, so really you can just about anything.

I have a few things on my plate, and lately I have had little time for myself. Well, that's not entirely true. I have slept a lot. A whole lot. What I should have said was I haven't had much motivation to use my time well. That is a much more true statement.

The fact is, I'm lazy. I work hard so my family doesn't have to, but mainly so I don't have to once get home. I like to be lazy, it has its moments. I really shouldn't be lazy but I am. I am trying to get better at not being lazy.

I have begun to fill my life with tasks and hobbies. I have my family, I also have Netflix and the internet, but then again I have had the last two for a while now. What I have added is a second dog, a garden, a workout schedule, a hobby (photography), a hobby (blogging), a hobby (writing, kind of goes with the last one), gotten promoted at work and placed in a management  position and following my interests. These include muscle cars, tuner hatchbacks, art, music, science and engineering, space travel and colonization, and even alien life.

The one thing I forgot to add is time management. I am sure I will get better at this, but for now each day is just a guess at what will happen or what I will be interested in doing, if anything.

This is probably the most personal post to date, and probably will be for a while. I tend to talk about things I like or don't like, or subjects that interest me personally, but I try to stay away from getting too personal. Guess I missed in this post. Oh well, take or leave it.

One last thing, these Google adds on this blog are placed here by me. Clicking on them will get me some spare change. Maybe even enough to get my own dot com for this blog. Please click them.

One more last thing (Last one I promise). The background Image for this blog is a stock photo that came with the template. If you want it (or anything) about this blog changed, just let me know and I will see what I can do. Oh yeah, the day before fathers day was the last day I had a cigarette. I really want one ...


So, I got myself an invite to Google+ (Google Plus). This post will be about what I like and don't liek about Google+ and how it compares to FaceBook. If you don't know what Google+ is then this post isn't for you. Ask around your friends, I am sure someone has it and they can send you an invite. Otherwise, you can look me up on FaceBook and if I know you I will probably send you an invite. Now for the review.

What I like about Google+

  1. I really like the "Circles" idea. This is a much easier way to keep friends and family organized into groups. You can add people to multiple groups or just one group. You can even make new groups, such as the "Army Buddies" group I made for those that I have served in the military with. Also, you can add anyone with a Google+ account for easy access to there Google+ page. However, if they do not put you into a circle, then you can only see public posts and you cannot write on their wall, or page, or whatever Google+ calls it. I really like that idea a lot. This way you can keep family arguments out of the public eye, if you want to. 
  2. Hangout, it looks promising, but I am taking a "wait and see" approach to this one. Basically its group video chat. I think we all remember chat roulette. 
  3. Instant Mobile Upload. This is great. With my Android Phone I can auto upload photo's I take on my phone without actually going to the app to do it. The great thing is they go to a private folder and won't actually be shared until I choose to share them. This keeps me from accidentally posting that really embarrassing one with the lampshade. 

What I don't like about Google+

  1. Too FaceBookey. The simple layout is very bland and seems to use the same "format" or layout as FaceBook. Granted Google users have always had a penchant for the simplified UI, but this is just too close to call "A Unique Experience". 
  2. So far, I can find no auto link. It would be nice to post a status update when new blog posts are made. Granted I have been very busy and not tending to this the way I need to, but then again I am not even sure if it will survive once I get back to work in a couple weeks. This vacation can't last forever. 
  3. "Circles", again. You can add anyone with an email address. Even if they do not have an account. Makes it simple to add contacts, but then again, I already have GMail for that. 

What I would like to see in Google+

  1. Better UI. Yes, I know Google+ is still in active beta testing, but it could be cleaned up a lot better and not be so ... facebookey. 
  2. Better Alerts Notification. I have an alert on mine that I have acknowledged at least ten times, and it still shows up as a new alert each time I close my browser and reopen the page. This really needs to get fixed or I am going to start ignoring these things and that will make them useless and redundant. 
  3. A little more customization of the site. Don't get crazy with it like MySpace, but allow a little something to make it your own. Something like iGoogle would be nice. I use iGoogle as my web browser start page and I love it. Perhaps Google could add a widget for iGoogle to check updates without actually loading the page. Maybe. 
As was stated before, Google+ is still very much in Beta Testing but overall I like it very much. While I won't be dropping my Facebook page anytime soon, I can see the possibility of that day coming.  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sammy - The Cardio-Trainer

This is Sammy, my new dog. He is part Dalmatian, part Rhodesian Ridge Back and part mutt. I recently rescued him from the Honolulu Humane Society and I couldn't be happier. While he is very energetic and keeps me moving (usually to keep him from chewing on everything) he is not very smart and only partially house broken. There have been "accidents" in that last area. He reminds me a lot of that dog in the movie "Over The Hedge", "Plaaay?". Over all I couldn't be happier, he is a very loving dog and has taken to his new home with zeal.

Later today I will be taking Sammy for his first distance run. We got him two weeks ago tomorrow and we have been giving him time to integrate into the house and neighborhood. Taking him for walks has given him time to get used to the sights and smells of our area so when I do take him for a run, it won't be such an "exploration" and we can just go run. That's the plan anyway.

I think a short run, only two or two and a half miles will be a good first run that I can use to gauge his fitness level and see if this will be a regular thing or not. I hope so, because I do enjoy running. When I get off my bum and do it I enjoy it. The hardest part is getting going, once I start I have a really good time.

Lately however, I have had a lot of demands on my time that have been getting in the way. I got a new dog, my grandmother pasted away, I recently returned from Afghanistan, my son is home from college, my wife is kind of glad I am home from Afghanistan, I have started to blog again and I have started to plant a garden. Busy busy busy.

Now that things are starting to settle down a bit it is time to start working out on a regular basis again. I find its better to workout with someone there to help motivate you. I hope Sammy can run, because he sure can sprint. I am not expecting great run times on this first run, since I am sure he has never run for distance before. I would like to say I will go easy on him, but I think he will wear me out before I can wear him out.

Hopefully later today I will post the results of the run. Until then, I have stuff to get done.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Morituri te salutamus

We who about to die salute you.

What an interesting thought that is. We know we are going to die, and yet we are proud. Proud of our heritage, proud of our people, and proud to sacrifice all that we are so that others may live. Its a very nice sentiment, but a bit of an over statement for this post. What we are facing is the end of an era, the closing of a chapter, the turning of a page. 

In this new era of a slow economy, high fuel prices, and relearning how to live within our means we also serve as  witness to the slow death of the performance automobile, the muscle car, and all they stood for. In an age of "clean-deisel" and hybrid technology the fuel guzzling V8's of the past will only be a show piece for "custom" cars and private enthusiasts. Ford has even announced they will be dropping the V-8 as an option for the Mustang except for "higher end applications". 

This is by no means a call to arms, a last rebel cry into the darkness on a rainy night to inspire and rally the forces of ... something .... against ... something else .... 

Nostalgia is nothing more than foggy memories of the past with all the bad parts stripped away. We like to remember the good times, they help when we are forced to relive the bad times. We like to look back and say "Yes! We did that!" 

What we don't say, especially in front of the younger generations, those that grew up on these stories, is what it was really like. How we spent rent money foolishly, or had to use the money for the electric bill as bail money. We tell them that it was hard, but we leave the hardest parts out. We neglect the bad and cherish the good because we have too, because we are human. We are trained from birth that we should not dwell on the past. Yet we are compelled too.

The image above is a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback. It has been updated, repainted and reinvented many times since it was born some forty four years ago. Adjectives used to describe this car include iconic, beautiful, fast, sexy and many more. Even to those who have never owned one, simply seeing such a car instills an nostalgic emotional response, that longing for the good times of yesteryear. Even those that are far to young to have even been conceived look upon this car, and others like it, with a sense of wonder and excitement. They have heard the stories, talked to those who've lived the legends, or at least claimed they have. They know that this car is special and it should be preserved. If not by them, by someone, anyone. Just so long as the legends and stories don't fade away. Sadly some do.

This is a 1972 Ford Maverick. If it had been safety orange it would be a dead ringer for my first car. I remember that car well, nostalgically. I remember pulling it from a field with a SAAB and drilling out broken bolts that had rusted away to make it run again. Most importantly I remember the friends and the shared experience of getting that heap running. That is what we are really looking for when nostalgia hits. Those are the memories we seek most. We don't think of the betrayals, the lost loves or the arguments. We remember the good times that we shared. The time spent with good friends, cheep cars, bad food and fast women. We remember the brawls. The ones we won mostly, and that one we lost that hurt so much. You know the one I mean. 

Adjectives used to describe the Maverick include "eh..", bucket, cheap, junk and "really" (usually accompanied with a look of confusion). You can buy these cars for anywhere from $50 to $200 that run, sort of. A good one will set you back the better part of a grand and the truly great ones go for as much as six thousand. Thats it. Just $6000.00 and you can have your very own top of the line Maverick, even with custom paint. A good restoration could easily run as high as $60,000.00, ten times the maximum financial worth of the car. The fact is these cars are not as desirable to the average person as the Mustang's, the Cobra's and the Camero's of world. 

The death of the Maverick has been a long time coming, and still continues. There are those that try valiantly to keep the remaining few operational, even desirable. They are losing. 

What makes one car more desirable than another? It can't be numbers, there are fewer Maverick's than Mustang's. It can't be cost, Maverick's are cheaper, by far, than any Mustang. So what then are we looking for when we place desire upon on a object like a car. We are looking for nostalgia. Even if the car is new, like the BMW One Series, the latest Porche or even the newest Charger. If we are too young to think about the memories of yesteryear, we are still old enough to have heard the stories and it is now a new generations time in the sun. It is their time to make memories of their own, and mistakes of their own. 

To an American a car still represents freedom. If we are not free to make bad decisions then are we really free? Life is about bad choices, it is the drama that makes the memories, it is the engine of our lives. 

For the last few years my wife and I have been debating on starting a "project car". Something that we can both get behind and build for fun, and to create a little nostalgia for ourselves. The problem of course is car selection, there are many of the greats to choose from. And that is the problem I now face. 

I live on an island in the pacific ocean. Car selection on the island is sparse at best. This means that more often than not I will have to buy a car from the mainland and ship it here, then ship it back when my time on the island is done. That adds around $3k to the equation. Some say we should wait until we get off the island. Then again, we have waited already. For a deployment to end, for a move to a new duty station to be completed, for my son to finish school. We always have a reason to wait, and so we do. What we need is a reason to stop waiting, I am still looking for that reason. 

Is waiting the smart choice? Probably. Is it the right choice? I have no idea but I suspect not. 

What I have decided is that despite the grumbling, the logic, or even common sense, I want to build a Maverick. The car I had back then probably had a lot less potential than I remember, and probably was worth less than I paid for it. (It was free for removing it). All that really doesn't matter though. It really doesn't. 

All people everywhere make choices everyday. To buy or not to buy an iPod. To buy or not to buy a fuel efficient car. Most of these decision are the balance of logic and emotion that we have settled on as our "comfort zone". That middle ground that allows for inspiration to grow without hurting us financially. That is what is meant by the "safe bet". Its the deal that has more good than bad, and it is a decision we can live with. 

Sometime though, you have to get out of your comfort zone and just do it for yourself. Because you can, and because you want to. Not because you need to, or because it is the "right thing" to do. I have been down many roads in my life. Some of those roads are better left forgotten. Some are worth revisiting. None are worth the future. Once again I seek a balance I can live with. Once again I find myself in this place, seeking truth in the fog of nostalgia. Once again, I must wait. 

I know what I want. I even know how to get it. I am waiting for clarity on "should I" get what I want. It is fast approaching the time of "put up or shut up". Men often reach this point, and we usually will react in a predictable manner. We will "usually" react the same way each time we get to that place. One way or another, all men get there many times in their lives. This time though, I am not sure I can predict what I will choose. 

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