Honoring Those Who Serve

First and foremost, thank you to all who have served in our armed forces for your service. Thank you to the families who support them and the sacrifices they’ve made as well.

My father was a POW in Vietnam. His father was a P-38 pilot in Europe and North Africa. My mother’s father was a bomber pilot in the Pacific. I grew up a military brat and loved it.

My dad returning from Hanoi Hilton

My dad did a Zoom call with my wife’s 4th grade class to talk about being a veteran. He also read “America’s White Table” to them, which was written by his late wife. I’m very proud of him and amazed at the struggles he’s seen in his life and still manages to be somewhat normal (he’s a goofy dude, which is where I get it from … that’s why I say “somewhat” 😂).

What's up, dad?

Personal Updates

I purchased a Kokuyo Jibun Techo 2022 planner to try this year. It’s actually a “system” of three notebooks. There’s a “life” book with tons of lists, charts, and places to track things in your life. There’s the “planner” notebook which also has some charts for tracking habits, monthly calendars, and weekly calendars. Finally, there’s an “idea” notebook which is just a blank (grid line) notebook for notes. I tried the Hobonichi planner last year and gave it up after a couple months. But that was a daily schedule thing and I need to see more of a “week at a glance” with my new job. Based on how I used my notebooks the rest of this year, I think this system will work well. But time will tell.

Life has been hectic around our house the past couple months. I started a Masters program which of course eats into my personal time. The wife has been great in doing extra stuff around the house so I can study and work on homework. The past few weeks have been extra though because I’m in a particularly tough class right now. The first class was Operating Systems and a manageable workload. This class is Databases and they literally took a 16 week class and shoved it into an 8 week format. So each week I have two “modules” to learn, do homework, and quizzes for. I’m working 2-3 hours per night just trying to stay on top of it and I’m struggling to get a “B” right now. Frustrating to say the least. Fortunately, it sounds like most of the classes in this program aren’t like this, so I’ll just keep my head down and get through it.

On top of work, school, and planning for the holidays, the wife and I put an offer on a house in a nearby historic town. The location was perfect, the price was a little over what we were comfortable with … but decided we wanted that location and that lifestyle as our adult children start to move on with their lives. The seller only allowed us an informational home inspection and wasn’t willing to fix any of the things on the list. The list was long with a lot of “little” things, a couple “moderately” priced items, and a doozy (windows to replace). It all spoke to a house that hasn’t been well cared for, so we were wary of the hidden expenses we would have in the coming years. We decided to back out of the offer. It stung a little, because it really was a great location. But we just weren’t willing to put the time and money needed into the place since we were already stretching (and don’t have a lot of free time at the moment anyway).

Security Tip of the Week

Heading into the holiday season and I want to share some tips to keep safe if you’re going to be doing online shopping of any kind.

  • Don’t click links in your email! Always open a browser and type the website.
    • It’s getting easier and easier to hide malicious links in emails or spoof emails to look real/valid!
  • Always look for the “lock” in your browser that shows the site has a valid SSL certificate.
    • This isn’t infallible, but it’s a good indicator that the site is more reputable due to the effort it takes to setup a site with a certificate.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi for shopping, banking, or anything that might use personal information.
    • Ever. Never ever ever. In fact, don’t even use public Wi-Fi if you can help it. If you do have to …
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt the traffic from your computer to the website(s) you’re visiting.
    • Here’s a great chart and resource to help you find a reputable and trustworthy VPN if you don’t already pay for one. And yes, this is an expense you should budget for an pay for!
  • Beware of amazing deals or unfamiliar websites.
    • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Pay online with a credit card (or third party site like Venmo or PayPal), not with a debit card.
    • Never give a site direct access to your bank account. Credit cards usually have a pretty liberal fraud policy. PayPal and Venmo not as much, but at least it’s not direct bank access.
  • Watch your bank account and/or credit card accounts for any suspicious activity.
    • You should be doing this regularly anyway, but do it more frequently during the holidays. If your bank/credit company has alerts setup, you can also set it up to notify you for any purchases over a specific amount. Fortunately, credit card companies are getting better at fraud detection (it’s in their best interest).

These are great tips for any time of the year, but people are usually a little more careless because they’re busier during the holidays. Be vigilant!

Doctor memes are the best memes.

Stuff I’m Reading

This list of inventors killed by their own inventions.

I found out there’s a hand signal that kidnapped people can use to quietly signal they’re in trouble.

Some poor guy was eaten by piranhas after jumping in the water to escape a swarm of bees.

New NIST guidance for critical software security practices.

A Princess of Mars (John Carter book 1)” by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Song of the Week

This song popped up on SiriusXM the other day. I hadn’t heard it in a while and had almost forgotten what a great song it is.

This post has been day 44 of #100DaysToOffload