All lights green, all systems GO

What the heck happened to February?  Seems just a week ago I was filling out reams of pre-employment paperwork and spending a fortune on marksmanship gear, and as of today, I have four nights left at home before reporting to Eglin AFB for range qualification for a week, then moving my butt up to Cambridge to sit in a corporate apartment for a month while I look for listings my wife might deign to evaluate for purchase.

She, in the meantime, has to select a brokerage to handle the sale of this house we’ve lived in for sixteen years (we have a choice of two, interviewed one yesterday and another is coming on Friday), organize with an “estate sale” firm who will assist her in getting rid of all the stuff we don’t want to take with us, stage the house, and put it on the market, and deal with the movers.  She’s done all of this countless times, of course, with every PCS (Permanent Change of Station) we made while I was in the army, but she’s not looking forward to it.

Luckily her birthday is on Saturday, and I’ve made reservations at a Brazilian steakhouse for the two of us – One last indulgence before being separated for a month with little time to talk to each other.  Good grief, it feels like a deployment, or my staff time as an S-3 (Plans & Operations) when I was a Major – TDY (Temporary Duty) here, there, and anon, keeping me away from home for extended periods.

OK, perhaps not a deployment.  This time no one will be shooting back at me (unless a disgruntled MIT student busts a cap in my a** – Unlikely, since I’m not faculty, just a staff member on the ballistics and trajectory team…I won’t be grading anyone).  But TDY?  Oh yeah.  This is the civilian version of TDY.

Anyhow, I’m all packed, the flu has passed, I’m taking a break from the range today to take eldest daughter clothes shopping, and there’s Portuguese red wine to look forward  to on Saturday evening.  The only fear I have is the fear of how much I’m going to miss my bride for this upcoming month…I really am quite fond of her.

And don’t think the irony of starting a new job where I’ll be firing small arms every day at work in the midst of the latest “ban all the guns” furor escapes me – It amuses me mightily.

Here’s some morning reading for you while I suffer at the mall:

On Monday, as the news of the Virginia Tech shootings was unfolding, I went into my advanced constitutional law seminar to find one of my students upset. My student, Tara Wyllie, has a permit to carry a gun in Tennessee, but she isn’t allowed to have a weapon on campus. That left her feeling unsafe. “Why couldn’t we meet off campus today?” she asked.

Virginia Tech graduate student Bradford Wiles also has a permit to carry a gun, in Virginia. But on the day of the shootings, he would have been unarmed for the same reason: Like the University of Tennessee, where I teach, Virginia Tech bans guns on campus.

In The Roanoke Times last year – after another campus incident, when a dangerous escaped inmate was roaming the campus – Wiles wrote that, when his class was evacuated, “Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness. That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.”

More at the link.  Out here,

They’ll play hell allowing you to buy it, but if you do, and perchance make a good investment – They’ll gladly tax your capital gains

And here’s why: If it isn’t fiat, they aren’t making any money from it – And cryptocurrencies are so far from fiat (yet becoming a part of more and more people’s investment portfolios) the banks don’t see a penny from them:

College tuition can be a tough nut to crack.

Students in pursuit of their dreams often rely on hard work and student loans to get them through the lean years, when they have to pay for college and living expenses.

But some New York University students are paying for their tuition while avoiding the drudgery of waiting on tables in Greenwich Village.

Take Konig Chen, for example. The 22-year-old, who was raised in Brazil and went to high school in Taiwan, says he has used the proceeds of his bitcoin investments to pay for a full four-year course of study at the school.

Like many cryptocurrency investors, Chen started out small, betting around $5,000 on the currency in February 2017, when it was fetching around $1,200. Adding $80,000 over the summer to his investment as the currency started to skyrocket, by the end of last year his wallet was worth enough for him to take out $200,000.

Read the whole thing, it describes how some NYU students have created an algorithm to predict cryptocurrency performance and are making a ton of money.

We talked about banks not allowing cryptocurrency purchases yesterday, but here’s another pointer to the bankers and their lobbyists trying to kill these currencies off:

According to the IRS, when a taxpayer successfully mines cryptocurrency and has earnings from that activity, he or she must include it in gross income after determining the fair market dollar value of the virtual currency as of the day it was received.

If you are considering buying or selling cryptocurrency, just follow this rule: How you use it relates to how it is taxed. If you keep good tax records and keep in mind how you are using the currency, understanding the tax implications will be a breeze.

They are taxing it.  Of course they are.  It’s hard out there for a morally corrupt IRS,. (Youtube) (NSFW)



I have 8 days to prepare for a move to a temporary (company provided) apartment for 4 weeks, preceded by a week in Tampa inventorying and mapping the data center.  Don’t want my 120 new employees to think I don’t know my a** from a hole in the ground when talking to them about load balancing, firewall, SLA upload / download and page load times, number of blades, number of VMs, what each blade and VM is responsible for, what OS it’s running, what the licensing status of all of the software is, etc.

Being me, when I get to Tampa on the 25th, I’ll do a leader’s reconnaissance of the route from my hotel to the office so that I don’t get lost on my first day of work – I’ll repeat that exercise on March 4th when I arrive in Boston for my stay in the temporary apartment (I say my stay because my wife will have to remain here to handle the movers when they arrive and go through all the rigamarole of putting the house on the market – We’re going to be separated for five weeks, which I’m not looking forward to, but I believe she may be).

The office has a gym, thank goodness, no more maintaining a gym at home to get my workouts in (I refuse to pay for a health club / gym).  If I know myself, I’ll buy a bunch of turkey lunch meat, some 100% whole wheat bread, a bottle of mustard, and a few TV dinners, I’ll just eat that stuff and pocket the per diem to pay for my Grand Marnier and “Cafe Latte” flavored vape e-juice (plug for drvapeit there) (that stuff almost makes vaping as expensive as smoking, but I’ll do without the carcinogens and tar, TYVM).

There’s an iOS app that tells one the best route to take when jogging, that’ll take care of not getting lost during my morning runs (Can you tell I’ve been concerned with getting lost since Military Science III in 1985?  To be an Infantry officer one must be as intimate with land navigation as one is with one’s significant other, and I knew I was going to be an Infantry officer by 1985 – You don’t spend 4 years in an Infantry National Guard unit and have much of a shot to be branched anything else at commissioning, so typical of me, I was making and running my own land nav courses in the mountains of North Georgia and running them, and taking every opportunity I could to run the Yankee Road land nav course at Fort Benning).

In the meantime I’m packing my home office (can’t let the movers do that or I’ll never find anything when we get up North), making minor repairs around the house, and doing what I can to prepare for the new job.

It’s havoc around here, and I have no dogs to let fly to assist me (See: “Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war!”)

That is why blogging has been sparse, which may actually be a good thing..I’m building up so much blog-fodder in my brain that I’ll no doubt write 500-word posts for weeks when settled in.  Until then be well – I’ll see you as soon as I can…we all know I’m going to sneak a post in whenever I can from Tampa and Boston, I’m addicted now.

Holy smokes

Just received, read, signed, and returned the offer letter for my new position.  I’m a bit in shock, I think, at the benefits and amenities…A FULL relocation (just like an army Permanent Change of Station – A truck shows up with boxes, wrapping paper, blankets, and 3-4 movers, they wrap, pack, and box everything and put it on the truck, and carry it off to your new home, where they unload and we unpack).  The bride only has to supervise.

On top of  THAT, they pay the Real Estate Agent’s commission on both the sale of the current home AND the purchase of a new home, as well as paying any closing costs or points on the new mortgage.

A “Real Estate Specialist” from the HR department will be here Monday to start the process…We have a full year to sell the house if that’s how long it takes.  In the meantime, they’ll pay for 30 days in an “Executive suite” while we look for a new place to settle.

And given we aren’t paying any closing costs, points, or commissions, I’m going to treat myself to something I’ve wanted for a very long time on Monday…A brand new Mercedes C300 – half of the payment down in cash, the rest financed.  I have enough guns, it’s time for the 2003 Mustang GT to go and be replaced with something more befitting my age.  Then we’ll take my wife’s leased Nissan back to the dealership and buy her an Escalade, or whatever her dream car is.  After 14 years of driving the same cars, we deserve it.

We’ll wait until one of my oldest and dearest friends from military college (you know who you are, Mark A.) who also served as one of my references, gets back from a business trip to Guam to celebrate, but tonight there will be adult beverages.

Thump is back, my friends.  I’m back.  If you’d told me in 1982 as a knuckle-dragging 11B Infantryman that I’d be in the position I’m in now, I’d have busted a gut laughing.  It took a h*** of a lot of work and stress, but now here I sit – Like Borat in his hotel room, seated, muttering “King of the castle, king of the castle, you do this, you do that.”

A warm-up and a jog seem to be just the thing…

To make showering possible.  The cold weather here and the cool water in the hotel combine to make a sort of Swedish bath…The exercise raises my temperature enough to make it bearable.

Sure are a lot of joggers here, but considering most of them are active or retired military that makes sense, I suppose.

A further blessing is that there’s a Starbucks right on the way to the Metro station, one Venti Americano equals about three regular coffees.  That leaves only two regular coffees to consume once I get to work before I stop glaring at everyone who speaks to me.

Off for day two at the puzzle palace, Lord, let this trip go quickly.

Let the games begin

Was up a bit earlier than usual this morning – Getting into the Pentagon as a civilian is a much more involved process than when one is in uniform.  If you’re assigned there (shudder), you get a permanent badge / pass that allows you through security pretty quickly, but even if you’re only there on TDY (Temporary Duty), you just sign for a visitor’s pass that’s good for the duration of your stay.

Since 9/11, though, as a civilian (and once you retire from the army, trust me, they look at you like a civilian), there’s a long, drawn-out, PITA of a process involving waiting on your COR and sponsor to fill out the requisite paperwork for a visitor’s badge, having one’s picture taken, waiting on the badge to be created, listening to a stern five-minute warning regarding which areas are off limits (which depends on what you’re there for), then signing in and running your visitor’s badge through an ATM-like machine.

That’s just day one – On subsequent days there is a separate security process for permanent staff / TDY and dirty, filthy civilians, and it takes forever to get in the building,  You would think that after twenty years of working on various projects here on and off I’d have a map of the building burned on the back of my eyeballs, but offices are constantly moving from one ring to the next (for pure aggravation’s sake, I’m certain), so a new map must be obtained on each visit…And like most military maps these are an absolute horror.  I’ve found the best thing to do is to grab the first senior NCO or Chief Warrant and simply ask “excuse me, but could you direct me to this f****** place before I shoot myself?”  Addressing them in this manner lets them know you’re prior service / retired, and they delight in torturing you (since now they can), but they’ll get you where you’re going.

The food court is an enormous temptation, but the line to merely get a bowl of cereal is so long it isn’t worth it – Besides, if you eat breakfast at the hotel it doesn’t count towards per diem, since there’s no receipt.

I’ve already run into two former soldiers of mine, one now a Major and the other a Lieutenant Colonel, and they’ve given me the skinny on who’s working here and where, so evenings will be busy with libations and TINS (“This is no s***”) tales with old friends, which will ease the burden of getting my a** chewed up and down until next Wednesday, when I’ll fly home.

I shall describe to you the day’s first a** chewing a bit later.  Have a better day than me, please.