don on December 28th, 2019

This is an update to my About Me section. I figured if I put it here more folks might see it.

I’m now 66 years old.  I’m still married to Betty and we still live in the San Fernando Valley.

I retired from Boeing at the end of 2008 and planned to only take a few months off before finding a consulting job.  Unfortunately, that was right about when the economy tanked.  I finally found another job at ThinKom Solutions Inc., an antenna company, where I’ve worked since September 2009.  I was hired as a Sr. Test Engineer but when they needed some kind of system to keep track of inventory I started developing one.  In a couple of years, that system had become a full-fledged ERP system that the whole company relied on.  I spent around 50% of my time developing software and the other working on microwave and RF antennas. Now I’m waiting for them to sell the company so my stock options are worth something I can retire on.

Around 2014 we were approached by GoGo Air, a company that provided internet on airplanes.  Their system was maddeningly slow (9 MB for the entire plane) and could only handle texting and email.  Business people used it but cussed it for its slowness.

We designed an antenna system that was capable of providing 500 MB/s to the plane but has so far been limited to around 80-100 MB due to modem technology.  To date, they have installed close to 2000 systems on multiple airlines.  Everyone who uses it raves about it.

Heather and Jocelyn are both married to the same guys who we love.  Heather and Mark live in the same house in Gilbert, AZ and Camden is in 11th grade and a geek who loves video games and robotics. Carsten is in 8th grade and a bit less of a geek but also enjoys video games.

Joce and Eric live in a small house in Kenosha, WI with their 3 kids who they are homeschooling. Liam is 11, Emeric is 7, and Eloise (Elle) is 4. Eric got a job at the school he graduated from (Gateway College) as an IT person. The small house is on a fairly large lot, almost an acre, and makes for fun times when it snows and berry picking in the spring/summer.

Ann moved out quite a few years ago and has been living on her own. She moved to Van Nuys which is quite a bit further away but still only about an hour by city bus or 20 minutes by Uber. She visits her mom every month or so.

Jen got married to a guy she had met at her job at Target in Simi Valley.  She and Patrick lived with us for several years before finding an apartment and moving in there, a few miles away in Woodland Hills. Jen still works for Disney in a store in Northridge. She always dreamed of working for Disney so she’s living the dream. She’s not a fan of retail but at least she works in the back so minimal exposure to the public. Patrick went to DeVry and got a BS in something like Web Development. He has been a geek (like me) since I met him. I helped him get a job at ThinKom several years ago but he soon showed them how valuable he is and was given an extremely good review earlier this month.

Michelle has exceeded all of our expectations. When she graduated she worked at 24 Hour Fitness for a while before getting a job at the super fancy-dancy Penninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. She worked as a PBX operator and met quite a few celebrities but I think her favorite was delivering a fax to George Lucas. Next to that was probably riding on the elevator with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). She offered to get out as good Penninsula employees are expected to do but he said no, stay on. I think she still swoons when she thinks about it. In 2018 she got married to Josh Bergman who she met through a friend she had for many years. Josh is a sports nut and loves the Dodgers like me so we get along pretty well. (Mark also loves sports but he’s a Diamondbacks fan so….) Michelle also went to DeVry for a Bachelor of Science in justice administration with a minor in corrections.

Shortly before Michelle and Josh got married they decided to move to Arizona because the cost of living was so much lower. They ended up in Phoenix where most of my siblings and Heather’s family lives. She got a job at The Phoenecian as a PBX operator but around a month later saw an ad for a position in the Department of Child Services. She got hired and became a caseworker and quickly rose as the best one in her office. Over the next year and a few months, she placed many kids into families and as of this week, she found she had more than anyone else in the state. She decided she wanted to raise in the ranks so she is back at school going for her Master of Science in psychology, concentration on forensic psychology. A big change from the girl who didn’t know what to do with her life 15 years ago.

Betty has spent a lot of 2019 going in and out of the hospital. In 2011 she had her thyroid removed and that evening the stitches broke which caused her to lose oxygen to her brain for a while. It’s finally caught up to her as she has a lot of trouble with short term memory and has been feeling sick off and on all year.

As I write this we are in Los Algodones, Mexico getting new teeth for me. In 2015 I got an All-on-4 on my upper and this year I decided it was time to do the lower. In 2014 my brother Richard had told us about Los Algodones and how much cheaper dentistry is here and it’s still the way to go if you need anything more than a cleaning. I am getting Zirconia plates on the upper and lower. They would cost about 3-4 times what I’m paying. Don’t want to cite prices but suffice it to say I’m saving 10’s of thousands of dollars.

Most of you know we lost my mom in 2017 and Jocelyn lost her mom in 2014. We think of both of them often.

My politics are similar to what they were in my About Me page but I do have to say I’m not a fan of our current President’s demeanor.  I do like how the country has prospered under his administration but I also feel he has given the US a lot of negatives.  He isn’t really respected by other countries and that’s a bad thing.  I do have to smile at how so many warned the stock market would collapse and the economy would tank and all the “good” things Obama had done would be undone.  I think the opposite of most of that has happened.  The stock market has boomed, the economy is doing very well, unemployment is at its lowest since the 70s and although we aren’t respected we also aren’t looked at as a pushover.  I think he’ll probably be re-elected but once again I don’t plan to vote for him.  I wish the Democrats could see just what a terrible field they are backing.  I think I would probably vote for Tulsi Gabbard if she got the nomination but there is next to no chance of that.

Happy New Year to all and may the 2020s be good to all.

don on September 11th, 2019

don on September 11th, 2018

don on January 24th, 2018

As I pointed out in the previous post I wasn’t a fan of Trump and didn’t vote for him.  I’m still not a fan but like before I prefer he is in office rather than her.  There is a guy on Quora who posts a lot and he said it very similar to what I feel.  His name is John Cate and here’s his post.

I’ve written quite a bit on the subject before. I had an open mind about his candidacy until he started to embrace the alt-right and people like Steve Bannon, at which point I decided I couldn’t possibly vote for him. Finding both candidates to be totally unacceptable, I voted my principles and cast my ballot for Gary Johnson in the 2016 election.

Insofar as his record as President goes, no one applauded more than me when he demanded that our so-called European allies in NATO pay their fair share of defense expenditures under the treaty they all agreed to. It’s ridiculous that we protected them from Soviet aggression for 45 years after the end of the war, let them get back on their feet and even prosper, and now they basically spit in our faces and won’t even pay their share. I didn’t like the way he went about it, basically playing “ugly American” on Twitter, but he said pretty much the same things I would have said to them behind closed doors. Uncle Sam’s gravy train is done. The EU’s basically at parity with the American economy. Pay your fair share.

And that goes to a lot of my issue with Trump—the man’s lack of diplomacy, both home and abroad, is embarrassing and counterproductive. I’m sure Trump, and a lot of his supporters, would say that he’s getting results. And to an extent, he is. But when you get results by bullying and publicly humiliating other countries, they resent that and they won’t ever forget it. You can sit down with them behind closed doors and say “this is how it’s going to be, if you want to still be allies,” but you don’t read them the riot act on Twitter. Trump is on a power trip and he likes to make people bend to his will. Someday, the bill for his being a dick is going to come due.

It’s already coming due domestically. When Trump became President, he did everything he could via executive orders to enact his agenda, but he quickly found out he could only accomplish so much without support in Congress—and even the Republicans in Congress put limits on his far-right planks, let alone the Democrats. He’s undone a lot of U.S. immigration policy without having a coherent replacement in place, the government is functioning on emergency spending bills, and he’s failed to reform or replace Obamacare. And a big part of the reason why is because he’s such an asshole that people can’t just sit down with him and negotiate a bipartisan solution. Back in the 1980’s, you couldn’t get much further apart politically than President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill, but guess what? They got stuff done because they weren’t buttheads.

Between Trump’s incessant diarrhea of the mouth, generally reactionary domestic policies, and his tacit support of racists, it’s very hard for me to support him even when he has successes, and he’s actually had more than a few. The freeloaders in NATO are starting to ramp up defense spending to the agreed-to levels. ISIS is all but destroyed, and you couldn’t help but notice that the U.S. and Russia stopped butting heads. And North Korea and South Korea are talking directly to each other for the first time in a long time. He’s starting to make inroads in reducing the size of the federal bureaucracy—even if he’s allowing for the expansion of the Department of Homeland Security, which I despise.

Trump was basically a dick to everyone as a businessman for the last 40 years and got away with it. But that style of “leadership” isn’t suitable for a President. Unfortunately, I don’t think he knows any other way or cares to learn any other way.

don on November 11th, 2016

We had an election a few days ago and now the world is freaking out.

I’ve never seen so many snowflakes screaming, crying, and gnashing their teeth.

This is what you get when you bring up a generation by not letting them experience failure.  This is what happens when you don’t keep score because you don’t want to make anyone feel bad.  This is what happens when you give everyone a trophy because they “participated”.

My generation wasn’t brought up this way and my parents generation was brought up even more strict than mine.

We were spanked when we did wrong.  We didn’t get gold stars for going to school unless we went every day for the whole year.  We knew we had to be polite to our elders and we knew if we weren’t there would be repercussions.

I like to think my kids were brought up a bit better than the snowflakes we are seeing protesting something that happens EVERY FOUR YEARS!!!

I like to think my kids knew what it meant to lose and what it meant to win and that they were strengthened by both.

I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump.  I live in California where it doesn’t matter who you vote for because the Democrats have convinced every poor family and every non-white family that the only way to live is to have the government take care of you.

I didn’t vote for him because I knew my vote didn’t matter and I just didn’t care for him or her.  But if I had lived in a swing state I would have voted for him because to vote for her would have been a vote to continue the decline.  This country has been headed down for way too long.  It’s time we started letting our children know how to lose so that they can live in the real world.



don on September 11th, 2016


don on August 14th, 2016

Near the end of last year my company was looking for new people to help build our antennas.  I was thinking our son-in-law Patrick was a smart person who learned quickly so I talked to my boss about bringing him in to see if he would be able to help.  He started around the beginning of December and has worked out very well.  Everyone likes him and thinks he is a great worker and asset to the company.

I stopped riding my bike to work because I was car pooling with Patrick.  We took my F150 4X4 most of the time but that thing gets terrible gas mileage.  I knew we needed something that would do better.

I started looking at information on electric cars.  Daryl has had his Volt for several years and really loves it.  I thought that might be an option and then I looked at the Nissan Leaf.

The Leaf is electric only which means if the battery runs out you have to either tow it or recharge it and there’s no gas engine to do it for you.  But it also has an 87 mile range for the older versions and 107 miles for the 2016.  I figured 87 miles would be enough since I could drive it the 30 miles to work and then charge it back up while there.

We looked at a 2013 Leaf that had 18,000 miles but it didn’t have the Level 3 socket which allows you to charge to 80% in 30 minutes.  I felt if I was going to have one I might want to take it to someplace like Santa Barbara where I could do the Level 3 charge and then come home the same day.

We went to the Nissan dealer to see if they had any used Leafs but they didn’t.  I started talking to them about what a new one costs.  Turns out when you buy a new electric car you get a $7,500 tax credit from the US and a $2,500 rebate from CA.  Nissan was also giving a $4,000 rebate and since I belonged to a credit union I got an additional $3,500 off.  That’s $17,500 off the sticker price.  That’s close to 50% off.  I figured I might as well buy new and that way I got the Level 3 socket.

I’ve been driving it for several months and I have to say I love it.  Since I got it I have only had to stop at the gas station once when I drove Betty’s Camry on a day it was low on gas.  Since we have the solar panels on the roof most of the electric is “free”.  It’s not exactly but very close.

I love being free from gas so much I’m contemplating trading in the Camry for a Volt.  I would still get the $10,000 in tax rebates and credits on a Volt.  I would definitely want to do it before the end of the year so I could take the Federal credit off my taxes next year.  We will see how things go.

don on August 14th, 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve added a post so I figured I could give a summary of what’s happened since my last one.

My last post was about the birth of my first granddaughter Eloise (Ellie) Weiss.  Betty and I flew out to Wisconsin in January to spend a little over a week with them.  I had wanted to spend some time there since we don’t get to see Jocelyn and Eric that often.

We flew out at the end of December on American Airlines.  One of my presents to Betty was going First Class.  I had us on a 767 that had the lie down seats in FC so it was going to be quite an adventure.  Unfortunately that plane had some problems so we were forced to get on a smaller plane but at least she still got to experience FC service.

I had decided to fly into O’Hare because the price was better if you were going FC.  It was a mistake on my part as I didn’t think about how much air traffic would be using the airport in the middle of winter.  Chicago had a blizzard on our way there and it caused lots of delays which caused lots of planes to stay at the gates which meant there was no place for our plane to go once it landed.  We were stuck on the runway area for 1 1/2 hours.  Really glad we were in FC then.

The trip to Racine took about an hour once we got out of the airport.

We stayed at a hotel I had found when I went out in 2014.  It was a small place but the price was good and it was fairly clean.  It was also only about 2 miles from Joce.

There was snow on the ground and it did snow a few times.  Having grown up in Tucson and living the last 29 years in LA I don’t get to see much snow.  It was very nice and I’m glad we didn’t get snowed in.

Michelle and Josh joined us a day or so later and we went to Milwaukee to meet them for dinner.  They had problems with getting their car but eventually we met and had dinner.

The next few days we went various places and did family things.  Then Michelle and Josh had to go home.

We stayed a few more days and had a great time not feeling rushed.  One thing I had wanted to do was take a tour of a cheese making factory.  There was supposed to be one not too far from Joce but it wasn’t open while we were there.  We didn’t get to see any but we did get all the curds and cheese we wanted from the world famous Mars Cheese Castle where the owner is good friends with Joce and Eric.

When we flew home it was uneventful but we felt we had a great vacation.