Saturday, April 27, 2013

The whole shebang

The whole shebang

Holy Spring, Batman.  Is it wholly Spring yet???


April and the "whole shebang" of Spring is upon us, hopefully.  For some, it's "where is Spring?"  April has had very temperamental weather.  The holy, whole hole of Spring is in the air at last, and hopefully the weather will be nicer too.  Ha!  We're about due for some nice weather this year!  It's been a long winter for most of us.  With Spring, it's always a refreshing time of renewal for most as the trees, grass and flowers start blooming again.  Don't forget to stop every once in awhile and smell some roses this year. This will be a full year for me living in Chicago!  April 1st of last year was technically my first day of residence.  It's hard to believe that a whole year has gone by.  Yeah, no foolin' there.  I didn't start moving in though until Friday, April 13th and finally on April 29th of last year.  The first wave of the move was for physically signing the lease and taking a walk-thru of my new place and the complex.  I loaded up the car that Friday and hauled a lot of my electronic stuff.  I also got my electric and cable turned on.  Finally, April 29th, I said "goodbye" to Ohio and drove off early that Sunday, hauling 20' of what little of me I had left in Ohio.  Driving off into the horizon, towing my Honda behind me, the Song by Petra, "Over the horizon," (link) played in my head as I travelled onto my new destination.  The song also recaptured the spirit of some fantasy stories I had written earlier in life about the Horizon and Plíagge.  I have also featured these in this month's blog.  They also tie into that New Year's Resolution as well about High Definition.

"God Fixation"
♪ Traveling far from home
Out into the unknown
Nothing familiar around me
This journey seems so long
As I await the dawn
All alone and so weary

There's a Light over the horizon
I'll keep walking down this road of hope
Faithful in my prayer
There's a Light over the horizon
Though I may not know what lies ahead
I trust that You'll be there

I spend too many days
Lost in a mindless haze
Not really sure of my purpose
And I may question You
And what I'm going through
When life seems so uncertain

Some days are a mystery to me
But I believe that answers are revealed in time
Even when the path is just not clear
I'm anticipating what I'll find
There's a Light over the horizon
I'll keep walking down this road of hope
Faithful in my prayer
There's a Light over the horizon
Though I may not know what lies ahead
I know that you'll be there
You'll be there ♪

1350 Cross Creek Drive #179, Brunswick OH 44212
Ave atque vale! Hail and farewell!

Kurt Poppenhouse.  Motto and spirit of Venture Around Chicago.

Etymology of 'the whole shebang?' It is not Irish.  It is American, Civil War American.  Google be thy friend. "...The surprising thing is that we do have a fairly good map of the history of 'the whole shebang.' We know that it first appeared in print during the American Civil War (1862, to be precise) meaning 'a hut or shed, one’s living quarters,' at first a temporary shelter for soldiers in the field, but later meaning any sort of crude, makeshift dwelling (“We’ve got a shebang fixed up for you to stand behind, in No. I’s house,” Mark Twain, "Roughing It," 1872)."

The path to success for me has not been an easy path. One would think it's a straight path, but the fact of the matter for me, it has not been. It's a path filled with many twists and turns, ups and downs, and some pits. They have not been easy parts on the path -- a lot of pain, patience and effort. There are some who are fortunate to have a straight path, no twists and turns or ups and downs. Mine, no. There have been no exits on mine and a great length of the journey has taught me only HUMILITY and MEEKNESS! There have been no detours through Vanity Fair. There have been no shortcuts. Do I enjoy this path? Heck, no! Of course I wish it were easy! That's not how it is though. I'm thankful for the handful of friends, family and even God that I have to cheer me on, to help me back up when I fall; which brings me back to my Life Verse in Hebrews 12:1,2 -- Hebrews, my favorite book in the entire Bible! "Let us lay aside the sin which doth easily beset us and run the race...looking unto Jesus!" He went through it all in life, and in the end, He'll be there to put that gold medal around my neck!!! Once again, I have been taught the lesson of patience and humility this month.  I am far from perfect in life; I strive to be a better person each day, but striving to look ahead means I shouldn't be looking back.  This month has been a trying month and continuation of last month.  I must look ahead and not back.  That's how tripping and losing sight of the goal happens.  I've dubbed this blog "the whole shebang" because not only is it a full year for me living in Chicago with new experiences, but just as the origin of the word implies, I have found my home here!  That encompasses all things changing and all things becoming new.  Spring is in the air!  The Whole Shebang!

"I don't have an Annoyed Attitude. I have an Illinoid Attitude." ~Me.

This is my motto and the attitude I'm trying to achieve for myself.  Am I annoyed?  No, I'm Illinoid!  If something doesn't work out, try something else and better.  Cast off the worries of those people that don't matter.  Keep the people that are important closely; move on without -- and pray -- for the ones that aren't.  In a nutshell, I'm done worrying and stressing myself out over every pitiful and meaningless piece of crap with people!  Some people have things happening in their life that are FAR WORSE than me or others.  Some people have life handed to them with nothing but suffering and stress.  I need to remember those people and hope to be a "lamp" and an encouragement to them!  Simplifying my life this way for this month HAS HELPED ME FOCUS BETTER!

April started off very stressful and unfortunately that has led to some complications on my part.  I know something is very wrong when I am getting migraine headaches that I normally don't ever get.  As fortunate I am to very RARELY ever get major ones, the second week of April I've had to contend with one for more than a couple weeks, even with the impaired vision.  Unfortunately, these headaches have been known to affect my eyesight, and this has happened!  The last time I ever had a migrainic episode this badly was back in October 2010.  Only minor ones have occurred in between that time.  I consulted with a doctor about these when that last one happened.  When I was at Broadvox in 2010, there was a month that had nothing but stress (^) raised to the power of stress.   I just remember the first time I had the one that affected my eyesight.  I was driving home on I-71 near Ohio-82, when suddenly I could not see.  I panicked.  It was a very odd sensation I felt and everything went 'white' like snow on a TV.  I pulled off luckily as it started progressing but I panicked!  I just remember the stress in my life from that last one.  Aside from the fluctuating weather here in Chicago and other stress, I can assume that this last episode was a mixture. I cannot let "my failure here and moving back to Ohio within a year" beat me down!  Over the Horizon....there is a Light!

Am I annoyed?  No, I'm Illinoid!  Ok, so step one to resolving this issue and preventing anymore is to FIX the problem and the source of the problem.  I am a problem-solver and most health-related issues can be controlled by the individual.  I have learned this month what I must do and how to SIMPLIFY MY LIFE.  There's that word again: simplify!  Does it mean ending friendships?  No, it means 'look up and ahead' and 'move on!'  This can only serve as a reminder to me, that it's time to wholly put that past behind me...and the whole shebang!


« 365 Days, 00 Hr, 00 Min, 00 Sec » 
« Time that is ticking since 16 November 1996 »
 « 29 April 2012, 04:59 CDT, I-71 Interchange 233 ».

On that day a year ago, it was the exact time I grabbed my toll ticket for the Ohio Turnpike at the I-71/I-80 Interchange.  Yes, I'm a dork for remembering the time; I think mainly because it was the time I checked in on Facebook at the Toll Booth.  Since that point, time is ticking from that moment -- leaving Cross Creek Apartments in Brunswick, and OHIO behind.  If you've periodically checked my website or read any blogs, you'll see the time ticking.  I've dubbed the time as the Crocodile Clock, which originally was started by a Russian co-worker in the form of a riddle.  The riddle of the "Crocodile Clock" goes back to a Russian Proverb I learned back at Broadvox (Thank you to Vitaliy Khrenov), which is why you read the Russian next to the "clock" each time you see the "clock."  Simply put, there is always an "escape" or "solution" to a problem.  The proverb means, "There are no option-less situations. Never give up." The crocodile has two exits.  If you are eaten by a crocodile, you have two ways out.  So, now you know the meaning of the Russian Proverb and the crocodile.  In this case, being out of work for awhile, the "solution" or "exit out of the crocodile" was starting over and moving.  A year has passed, but I wonder how many of you reading have deciphered the meaning of "Eric Failing Deletions?"  To give you a hint, it's actually an anagram. November 16, 1996?  November 16, 1996 was my first full day I lived in Ohio once again.  I believe the void in my life began November 15, a day earlier, when I moved back to Ohio from E. Troy, Wisconsin.  And, just as I believed that marked an end, a setting Sunrise in the east, I believe time resumed for me on November 15, 2011 with a new dawning, a new chapter, and a glorious sunset in Ohio.  So, time has been ticking since November 16,, and the whole shebang!

That Crocodile Clock is still ticking...


«   »

Крокодилье время.
Даже если крокодил съел вас у вас есть два выхода.

This year has taught me many things.  Ford has this model of car called a Focus.  That is what I have learned and still am learning the most this past month.  I am still trying to build new relationships and friends here.  Don't get me wrong, I am having a lot of fun!  I have fallen in love, head over heels, for this City!  Learning and exploring a new city has been really a lot of fun this past year.  Venture Around Chicago has made my whole Chicago Experience tremendously, thrifty and triumphant.  Earlier this year, I pressed that "HiDef Button" to the top, and I'm still moving up.  It has been totally awesome!  Now, the next part of that focus is sharing the experience with new friends and, hopefully, some dating.  I have lived the past 15 years of life with a deep void of emptiness at the bottom floor.  This is not an emptiness of family or God.  It's an emptiness of worth and purpose!  This has been a deep and tender wound in which I finally have taken action to remedy.  I wish people understood this.  Some of this action is out with the old, and in with the new.  There is still a lot of residual negative and poison festering in my mind.  I hope by the end of this month, I can maintain my upward motion and rid myself of unnecessary worries and headaches, LITERALLY!  This last migrainic episode I had has finally made me realize the level of stress I am getting myself into with all this crap.  This has caused me to change my home phone and remove my main Facebook profile.  At this point, I really don't anticipating going back to it.  My Phio Kivich dummy account on Facebook is only there to merely administer a few Facebook pages I have out there.  That's it.  Blogging seems to be fine!  So, in attempt to keep up and forward, I'm trying to "fit" into a new attitude, an Illinoid Attitude!  Going up to that "HiDef level!"

April Fool's Day!


Hello there, Australia!

This picture here is not me.  Gotcha!  I've been told that I resemble Dan Aykroyd many times, so his picture has been a source of an April Fool's joke each year! HA!

My doppelgänger!


The first week of April, I went into Naperville to start the process of "recycling my fleet vehicle."  Ogden Avenue is a very long road, ha!  My co-worker said it was just a new lease; I said, "it sounds a lot like recycling to me, lol!"  It is good that our company is careful with the vehicles they issue but I am going to have to learn a whole new car now.  So, starting the paperwork at the Dealership, the order got placed to renew a new fleet vehicle.  The new vehicle will eventually be a Ford Fusion 2013.  I hope I can kalaka for work too instead of driving the Honda.

Also for May, this month, I renewed my vehicle registration for Blackbeak.  It cost me just over $100???  The notice of renewal said this fee is $2 more than last year.  After witnessing the way a lot of motorists drive in this State (OMG!!!), it is clear why the price is HIGH!  I'm not referring to Downtown traffic either!!!  I mean out in the 'burbs!  Geez Louise!  Show me that cracker-jack license of yours.  Everyone also goes 5 mph under the speed limit (mainly the 'burbs) ( >.< ). "PUNCH IT, CHEWIE!"

Whoa! o.O

Fair Oaks Ford Lincoln
"Recycling Fleet Vehicle. Naperville."


"Just have fun tonight."  Thursday evening, April 4th, I went Downtown to a successful single mixer.  The name of this meetup is "Chicagoland Solos."  I parked nearby the event.  The event was located at American Junkie on 15W Illinois Street.  I thought I'd start this section off by saying the successful part up front, because I truly believe it was progress for me, as I later learned.    I was greeted at the door by the two women in charge of the meetup (Gina and Annie).  They both assured me that I would find a match and not to give up.  This event didn't count as 1 of 9 dates.  I still don't know how to make out "Oh, you have the sweetest face," when she told me, but I'm pretty sure it's a compliment.  Directing me to the back of the restaurant, I walked upstairs to meet with the group.

American Junkie

The place was HUGE.  When I got upstairs, I saw the group towards the back near the ginormous Television!  I noticed one woman that I did one other event with Venture Around for the Art Institute back in February (Lincoln's Birthday).  She noticed me too and flagged me over to sit with her and some others, so I did.  After I got my name tag, I sat with her.  I GOT CARDED!  I was sitting there with other people "my age," and the waitress picked on me only for my ID.  Wwaaa Wwwwaaaa  Wwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaa!  It's all good though.  It felt good.  I surprised a few people at the table when I told them I was almost 40.  We caught up on some of the events that were done by Venture Around since I last saw her and she mentioned going to Italy this spring.  How exciting!

I mingled some with the other people at the table.  Soon, Gina (chief matchmaker of the meetup) found her way upstairs after greeting members of the meetup downstairs.  She saw me sitting at the table with others and sat next to me.  She asked me how I felt about the event.  I told her that this was really nice!  She was glad I stuck around and I admitted to her that I am still very shy.  She was taken off guard when I said that because she said she would've never suspected it in me.  That is why I stated early that this was a successful mixer.  I'm making progress.  She told me to not give up on the Luv Biz Chicago thing either and to keep trying.  I expressed to her that I am a bit nervous with this thing, but she told me her success story with the matchmaking service.  I told her that this is the first time I felt like I belonged somewhere and the first time I felt home.  She stated that is a good thing; belonging somewhere helps you focus and make better decisions in your life.  It also is good for confidence.  So, we were both of one mindset on that.  She told me how she met her husband through the Luv Biz Chicago matchmaking.  She expressed how much she really wanted to give back some of that fortune and goodness she got through the matchmaking service by doing meetups for the service.

American Junkie

I still hope my Distant One Star is out there somewhere.  I do suspect that she is closer now.  If there is one thing I am happy to say is that the confidence in crowds is doing a little better.  Sometimes, just by talking to some of the guys there, it helps open the line of communication with the women.  The men sometimes, in my mind, act by proxy as a "wingman" in some degree.  I hope that I continue on.  There are a couple new events with this meetup for this month, and I hope I can start my 9 dates soon.  I'm learning that I've missed out on much of my life by being shy.  I hope there is a turning tide and pay off sometime soon...and the whole shebang!

By: Eric Chatham

My ship sails ever into the heavenly night sky
Into the sea of stars that are up so high
Towards the distant shimmering star so prominent
I will finally reach you, your light so dominant

You glimmer so radiantly neither waxing or waning
Since the beginning, there you are ever remaining
You bid me to seek you out and find your glow
That your life and spark will fill my soul

You guide my course onward to hold your hand
One day this long quest will reach an end
I've dreamt and seen your beauty from the start
When I looked into your night sky, I see your heart

One day our paths will finally meet
Until then, good night my glimmering star, my sweet.

American Junkie
"Single Professionals Chicago. This doesn't count as 1 of 9."


The first week of April, after setting up my new "Windows Server" and promoting it to a domain controller, I began testing the replication of AD, DNS and FSMO roles of the new Server.  Replication was a success.  I then transferred the Domain-Wide Roles to the new domain controller and left the Forest-Wide Roles on the First Domain Controller.

FSMO Roles

After transferring the roles, I started a cookbook for migrations and reconfiguration of services on Oakbrook 17-102, my home network.  This involved moving websites, reconfiguring ports and updating configuration files.  I made the final changes on Friday night, April 5.  All the changes were a success.  So, to anyone reading who is a sysadmin or a tech geek, you may enjoy the steps in the cook book and I provided those here for you, lol!  Actually, I call these cookbooks a Duzit, and, no, "duzit" is not a word I made up.  Thanks, Mr. Bernath (my 9th grade, Algebra teacher at Maple Heights High School).

Webmail Settings
Migrating - Duzit [PX9130405-2109-EC01]
1. Disable IP Address in IIS.  Remove IP Address alias and in its IIS Directory settings.
2. Reconfigure port settings on router to point to Apache
3. Update OWA to use another port 8080 instead of 80.
4. Reconfigure router port 8080 settings to point at IIS.
5. Update webmail script to include 8080 port settings.  Mail outages.
6. Reconfigure etho0 on Linux for IP Alias
7. Configure Apache for
8. Add Windows Character settings into htaccess.
9. Configure Linux log rotation for and rotate the logs
10.  Reconfigure Nagios.
11. Add to nightly backups.

INTERFACE CONFIG [.../network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0:1]

Configure Interface to have an alias IP...
# ADMtek NC100 Network Everywhere Fast Ethernet 10/100

IPTABLES [.../iptables]
Open Port 80 on the firewall...
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT

APACHE [.../conf.d/shekinya.conf]

Configure Apache to use an alias IP...
        DocumentRoot /var/www/html/shekinya/
        ServerAlias shekinya.proxima.local
        DirectoryIndex index.html
        AddCharset UTF-8 .utf8
        AddCharset windows-1252 .html
        ErrorLog /var/logs/httpd/
        CustomLog /var/logs/httpd/ common
<Directory /var/www/html/shekinya/>
        Options -Indexes -FollowSymLinks

        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all


COMMENT OUT UTF-8 and turn off default charset [.../httpd/httpd.conf]

To allow "charset=windows-1252"
<meta http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">

# Specify a default charset for all content served; this enables
# interpretation of all content as UTF-8 by default.  To use the
# default browser choice (ISO-8859-1), or to allow the META tags
# in HTML content to override this choice, comment out this
# directive:
## AddDefaultCharset UTF-8
AddDefaultCharset Off

TOUCH [.../.htaccess]
[root@nomad shekinya]# cat .htaccess
  # Add these character sets to the document root .../shekinya
  AddCharset UTF-8 .utf8
  AddCharset windows-1252 .html
  Options None
  AllowOverride None
  Order deny,allow
  Deny from all

SETUP LINUX LOG ROTATION [.../logrotate.d/shekinya]
[root@nomad logrotate.d]# cat shekinya
/var/log/httpd/*log {
        /sbin/service httpd reload > /dev/null 2>/dev/null || true


[root@nomad]# logrotate -dfv /etc/logrotate.d/shekinya
reading config file /etc/logrotate.d/shekinya
reading config info for /var/log/httpd/*log

Handling 1 logs

rotating pattern: /var/log/httpd/*log  forced from command line (no old logs

will be kept)
empty log files are not rotated, old logs are removed
considering log /var/log/httpd/
  log needs rotating
considering log /var/log/httpd/
  log needs rotating
rotating log /var/log/httpd/, log->rotateCount is 0
renaming /var/log/httpd/ to

/var/log/httpd/ (rotatecount 1, logstart 1, i 1),
renaming /var/log/httpd/ to

/var/log/httpd/ (rotatecount 1, logstart 1, i 0),
rotating log /var/log/httpd/, log->rotateCount is 0
renaming /var/log/httpd/ to

/var/log/httpd/ (rotatecount 1, logstart 1, i 1),
renaming /var/log/httpd/ to

/var/log/httpd/ (rotatecount 1, logstart 1, i 0),
renaming /var/log/httpd/ to

disposeName will be /var/log/httpd/
renaming /var/log/httpd/ to /var/log/httpd/
disposeName will be /var/log/httpd/
running postrotate script
running script with arg /var/log/httpd/*log : "
        /sbin/service httpd reload > /dev/null 2>/dev/null || true
removing old log /var/log/httpd/
removing old log /var/log/httpd/


SAMBA [/etc/samba/smb.conf]

Copy files from IIS to new Apache location...
        comment = Shekinya Website
        path = /var/www/html/shekinya
        writable = yes
        browseable = yes
        public = yes
        valid users = @echatham, @sysadmin, @root

RECONFIGURE NAGIOS [.../hosts.cfg]

# 'check_website' for 'nomad_proxima'
define service {
        host_name                       nomad_proxima
        service_description             SHEKINYA.NET
        check_command                   check_website!!/mharabhaunt/index.html!60!3600
        max_check_attempts              3
        normal_check_interval           1
        check_period                    24x7
        notification_interval           0
        notification_period             24x7
        notification_options            c,w,r
        contact_groups                  ssm,nsm

ADD TO NIGHTLY BACKUPS .../html/shekinya/ to ../cron.daily/backup

[root@nomad ~]# cat /etc/cron.daily/backup
# Eric's backup script
FILE1=/tmp/backup/nomad-`date +%y-%m-%d`.tar.gz
cd /
/bin/tar cfpz $FILE1 etc usr/local usr/share var/lib var/spool var/www/html/shekinya opt
/usr/bin/ncftpput -V -DD -u mediabckup -p ********* -m -R Nomad $FILE1
/bin/rm -rf /tmp/backup/nomad-*
 NAGIOS monitors for Oakbrook 17-102 LAN

Smokeping graphs for Oakbrook 17-102 LAN

Smokeping graph for COMPILER


Everything is working.  After migrating the remainder websites that night, I had to remember that the websites were stored on IIS before so the content was for Windows.  Readjusting Apache to accept Windows-1252 charset was simple to do and with and the other sites moved, it will now allow me to do more with my own home network. The next step though is definitely buying a new desk.  Plus, the Crocodile Clock is still ticking away on my site...and the whole shebang!

The Crocodile Clock

Systems Aboot


Venture Around at Daley Plaza

Saturday, April 6th, I spent the afternoon with Venture Around in the Loop.  We were meeting up to do the Loop Movie Scavenger Hunt through Watson AdventuresWatson Adventures hosted the last scavenger hunt at the Art Institute last month.  That one was called Murder at the Art Institute.  At that one, the team I was on came in 2nd place with a perfect score.  Winning the hunt with a perfect score that day, we were awarded with free vouchers to the next one.   So, for this event, I used my winnings from the last one.

The Circle Interchange

The Picasso at Daley Plaza

I arrived at Daley Plaza at 1:30pm, and there were two other people in Venture Around there waiting.  I parked somewhere on Lake and Clark.  I knew we were going to be doing a lot of walking too.  It was a very warm day and it was well into the 60s by now.  I dressed in spring attire, and it was really refreshing to actually feel the sun on your face for a change.  Shortly after I arrived and took a few pictures of the The Picasso in the Plaza, Kurt and the rest of the gang gathered.  We all walked to the corner of Clark and Washington to meet Watson Adventures.  Walking to the corner, I realized that I forgot my Voucher at home (>.<).  Quickly, I thought.  Oh wait, I have a scanned image of it on my phone.  I hope she can accept that!  I quickly fumbled through my phone's pictures and found it.  It was readable so that was a bonus, lol!  Kurt thought that was rather odd, but I told him I do things like that.  I keep my receipts and bill stubs for three years, so hey, don't laugh.

When Nicole (the woman in charge of the Scavenger Hunt) asked for my voucher, I chuckled and said, "well, I jumped in my car and forgot it, but I have a scan of the voucher here on my phone."  I showed her the image.  "If you have an e-mail address, I can send you this."  She laughed, gave me her e-mail address, and I got in!  Whew!  There must've been 25 people altogether that showed up, apart from our Venture Around meetup.  After everyone signed in and came up with their group's name, we broke off into 4 or 5 people to a team.  Venture Around broke off into two groups.  On the fly, I came up with Loopy Picassos for the team name; we were in the loop and loopy, next to the Picasso, so it fit!  Other people came up their own creative names.

Clues/Answers Sheet

We started the Hunt right there at the Washington, Clark, Dearborn blocks.  The clues were all seen in movies that featured the city of Chicago in them.  Some of the clues were hard to find.  They included looking at signs on the street, sculptures, engravings on buildings, markers, clocks (like the one in the Board of Trade bldg at the end of LaSalle), teeny-tiny clues (like at the lions at the Art Institute), etc  We found ourselves circling around up and down the street in the block to find them.  You didn't have to know every movie that featured Chicago in it.  You just had to have a keen eye and understanding of the city, its streets and the blocks.  Once again, being swift on your feet was key.  Once again, I was nominated to do the navigating around the Loop.  Timing was everything, and once we deciphered the clue, we were off onto the next clue.  The event was timed, and we had to meet back at 4:25pm, or we'd get points deducted for being late.  Well, that was the plan.  I found myself walking a block ahead at times, or darting out across the roads not waiting for green.  Yes, no traffic, but I warned the one guy in the group saying he had to keep up.  The way we won the last time was that we were quick and ready to go after we deciphered each clue.  "Quick, 19 seconds to cross!"  I found myself saying many times, running across the streets.  As per the navigation, one bewildered woman in the group was flummoxed as to where I was going and if I really knew the way?  "We have a wait sign here, we can walk up one more block and over."  They thought I was taking them on a wild goose chase, but hey, use the street blocks to your advantage when there is traffic.  They blocks are laid out logically as squares.  The one dude in the group was an "anchor" and kept saying, "am I the reason we are behind?"  Um, do you know what a millstone is?  If there is one thing that always gets me in trouble, it's rolling my eyes.  He noticed this a few times.

The Flamingo Sculpture Clue on Dearborn Street

The Berghoff Restaurant Clue on W. Adams Street

The Cloud Gate Clue at Millennium Park (count 12 tiles from center)

The Chicago Theatre Clue on State Street (bird, whistle, car horn)

Chicago Board of Trade Clue at the end of LaSalle Street (roman numerals on clock)

How tall are you? Clue at LaSalle/Monroe

We found clues all over.  We must've covered 10-15 blocks in the Loop, ranging as far north as Lake Street, as far east as Millennium Park, as far west as LaSalle Street, and as far south as Jackson Street.  It was a LOT of walking.  Luckily, the clues were all in a logical path and we didn't have to jump around all over the place for each one.   Kurt stressed in the meetup, "wear comfy running shoes," so that should've been the indication that there was going to be a lot walking, lol!

Nicole from Watson Adventures is announcing the scores!

After we all arrived at 4:25, it was getting a little drizzly.  Nicole announced the winner.  We placed third.  The Kurt-half of Venture Around placed 2nd.  This was a lot of fun and it sounds like this is a popular event in our meetup, so Kurt made mention of doing another one of these through Watson Adventures!

Daley Plaza Picasso
"Loop movie scavenger hunt."

After the event, some of walked over to the Elephant & Castle on Wabash to have lunch.  There we drank lots of water, iced tea and had small meals.  I had a Chicken Caesar Salad.  It was nice to talk to everyone afterwards and talk about the upcoming events.  No kidding, but right after we found our seats at the restaurant, it started pouring out, lol!  We looked at each other, "we finished just in time!"  We ordered our meals, talked about life...and the whole shebang!

Driving under an "L" train on Lake Street

Elephant & Castle
"After scavenger hunt."


Do you stop and smell these often?

We live in a fast society.  Everything happens too fast.  We even have food that is fast.  If there is one thing that life teaches me on a daily basis is to "slow down."  I wish I could share that sentiment though when I'm driving!  Yes, I drive fast!  Even marriages come and go in a blink of an eye.  If anything, I'm a very reflective person.  Yeah, maybe that's seen as a flaw, but I'd like to see that as an opportunity and an advantage.  I've learned my lesson many times about moving too fast, even with relationships. Luckily, in relationships, nothing ever went beyond a ring on a finger or sudden offspring.  As much as some of them hurt us, maybe it's for the best in the end.  So, I have learned.

I was given a challenge last month for 9 dates in a month.  Ok, whew, that's a lot in my opinion.  It'll take a lot of patience I believe to do this.  So, Thursday night, April 11, I called to arrange my first date; I had gotten a "like" back from the Matchmaker consultant for my profile, and she gave me her phone number.  Calling my match, I first got her voicemail.  Ok, she's probably working, I rationally thought.  I'll try again tomorrow night.  I was given her profile and when I saw the line of business she was in as Restaurant Owner, I knew she was definitely probably working.  Lo and behold, an hour later, she called me back and we talked for a very lengthy time about things, and what we wanted to do for our date.  We discussed our jobs and what we did, and where we lived in Chicago.

It was a very effusive phone call.  I was very comfortable talking to her and she was very easy to talk with.  It was so easy to be myself!  That's a bonus!  So, talking for over a half an hour, we made an arrangement to talk on Saturday afternoon before our date, as per where we decided to go for our date.  She said she enjoyed fine dining and at first, knowing her profile, I was not sure she wanted to go out to eat.  Apparently she did, so that opened up a door as to where to eat.  I asked a local friend here about "fine dining" and where would be best to go.  She provided me with a very thorough and detailed list, which I passed the suggestions onto my date on Saturday.

Mocking Hills

Friday afternoon, I phoned my date and told her I was changing my home phone number today, and I wanted to pass on the new number to her.  Without question, she asked me what my new number was.  We talked for a bit.  She was working so we picked up our call on Saturday. On Saturday, she called me and we talked about choices for our date.  I shared the list of suggestions I got from a friend, but she wanted to try something else.  She mentioned "wine," so my mind jumped to "BIN 36."  I went there a couple times and enjoyed the food and wine.  So, we met up there.

It was a great night with a lot of conversation about family and traditional values.  I was very surprised that these people still exist.  We talked at great length about our "fast paced society" and how "materialism" has clouded everyone's minds.  Where are those traditional values?  Where is common sense?  We must've been talking the same language because we understood the risks involved with moving too fast, especially in relationships.  I told her that I put "long term relationship" on my profile, because I think, first, women get the wrong impression with marriage nowadays.  It cannot happen in an instance.  Sure, I believe in love at first sight, but um, what's wrong about taking things slowly?

My date expressed the same views, and we talked a lot about family and tradition.  She had LTR listed on her profile as well and I believe, just as I believe, she must also believe about the traditional values.  It was very evident in her principles and stance on life in general.  She was happy to hear that my folks have been married 41 years and still are happy!  We both agreed that is a rare thing.  "Stop and smell the roses," I mentioned.  "Right?"  She agreed.  "One minute you're married and the next you're divorced?  People don't think about what they are doing until it's too late.  Let's rush into it."  She said.  She was being sarcastic, but it worked.  We had a very good time talking.  While talking and waiting for our dinner between "water pours" from one of the servers, I even asked the server what was in "Bin 36."  Surprisingly, she said nothing actually.  "So it's just a misnomer then?"  My date chuckled.  I jokingly asked my date, "how many times do you think we should plan the guy to come back to fill our waters before we finally get our meals?  2 more, 3 more?"  Ha.

We finally got our meals.  I tried a NY Strip and she had Salmon.  She said, "You have to let me pay."  I choked a bit, and replied.  "Wow, you just ruined the whole evening."  I was joking of course, lol!  I told her that I couldn't let her do that.  Should a guy take that offensively if a woman offers to pick up a check for a first date?  I don't know, but traditionally, I think it should be the dude who picks up the check, especially for a first date, lol.  We wrapped up the evening by talking about doing another date.  We were talking about DateNet and how I just joined it and how she has had a few dates with them.  I told her that I'd like to do something again with her.  We parted after the dinner and left with a very warm and comforting hug!  I believe that if anything, I had a fun night.  If something more happens, then great.  If not, there are choices...and the whole shebang!

Bin36 Dining Room on 339N Dearborn Street (36W)

Bin 36

After my date and I had dinner, I mentioned some of the activities I do with Venture Around and that I had two tickets to go see some Improv and Sketch Comedy.  She had other plans, so at about 9pm, we parted ways.  I drove up Michigan Avenue and hopped onto LSD north and got off at Irving Park Road.  The Comedy Club was located on the northside of the road of the Lake View Neighborhood.  I found some parking not to far from the club.  When I arrived, I met Kurt and Paddy inside by the bar.  I ordered my drink and we talked about my date, lol, since they were curious!

"W. Belle Plaine & N. Greenview"

We sat very close to the front, hence the camera angle

After ordering our drinks, Kurt, Paddy and I went into the area where the sketch comedy groups were performing.  There were three teams that performed that night.  It was really amazing to see how each team could pull off doing their comedy all ad hoc by a random request from the audience.  From Marxism, Peyton Manning to Rahm Emanuel, each team was great and had us all laughing.

The third team which came to the stage was the team whom performed "Rahm Emanuel."  This was a choice made by Kurt, Paddy and me!  Before the last team came in, we talked about what we were going to shout out to the team to perform when they asked.  We agreed on Rahm Emanuel, lol.  The last team to perform was "Rainbow Deli" ...and the whole shebang!

Rainbow Deli performing "Rahm Emanuel"

Chemically Imbalanced Comedy


Chicago has such a rich history I'm learning.  On Sunday afternoon, I met up with Venture Around again to participate in the Chicago Chocolate Tour.  Each time I do an event with this group, it just makes me fall in love with this city more and more.  I wasn't sure how this "tour" would work but I was determined to enjoy myself.

Picture taken by Kurt

Venture Around standing in front of Argo Tea
We paid to "park" stand in that spot!

I drove into town and took Stevenson to LSD north.  I got off at Belmont and, whoa, I tried looking for a place to park.  Lake View East was very busy with people and traffic.  I learned later that Lake View is a very popular neighborhood in Chicago, so the trouble with making left turns and finding a place to park was not uncommon.  I parked near Belmont (3200N) and Broadway (600W).  Finally, walking down Broadway near Briar, I met with the group and just in time, because the tour was starting.  It was such a beautiful day to do this event and the weather was nice and warm, approaching the 60s.

Argo Tea
"Chocolate Tour!"

Inside Argo Tea, Lake View, 3135N Broadway

Brianne was the name of our tour guide, and she was very thorough and detailed about the stops on the tour.  Our tour started in Argo Tea where we were introduced to a wide range of loose-leaf tea and chocolate.  Named after the Greek Myth of Jason and the Argonauts, the chain was founded first here in Chicago and the first store opened in Lincoln Park.  We were each provided with samples of some very delicious "chocolate tea" and "chocolate pastries."

::SIGH:: I admit, I kept staring lovingly at her dimples and smile!

Enjoying some ice cream outside Bobtail Ice Cream

After visiting, Argo Tea, our next stop on the tour was at "Bobtail Ice Cream" at 2951N Broadway.  There we were given a few more samples but also learned the history behind ice cream.  Brianne asked us if anyone knew the history.  In the back of my head, I was thinking Marco Polo and noodles.  I should've spoke up.  Ice cream first started in China.  People would go up into the mountains, collect the ice and bring it back down and mix it with different flavors: the first Ice Cream.  Marco Polo brought Ice Cream and the Noodle back with him to Italy and there in Europe, Ice Cream became popular, especially with Gelato.

Our next stop on the tour took us to "Loose Leaf Lounge" at 2915N Broadway.  We tried some very delicious tea.  I added a new place on list to shop for tea at!  I signed up for their newsletter.  They brewed some tea that smelled just like chocolate.  After tasting the tea, you could not taste the chocolate.  The tour guide stressed the different types of chocolate here and how chocolate in its pure form is very good with anti-oxidants, improves blood circulation and even is a natural mood enhancer.  There are a lot of health benefits to chocolate, especially dark chocolate.  Kurt and I were the only two men in the group; I took this information as a good sign for dating, lol.  Chocolate seems to be women's secret weapon!  I found this part of the tour very interesting!

Loose Leaf Lounge in Lake View, 2915N Broadway

Outside, Brianne quizzed the group and asked us how Chicago's Broadway got its name and what was the name of the road before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  Chicago's Broadway was named after New York's Broadway and prior to the Chicago Fire, it was called "Old Plank Road," because it was a road built with wooden planks.  Before Lake View was incorporated as part of Chicago, it was a farm land and "Old Plank Road" tied the northern part of the city into the main city.  In 1903, Lake View was incorporated into the City of Chicago and the road was renamed Broadway after New York.

After visiting Loose Leaf Lounge and taking down their information, the tour proceeded down the rest of the Lake View Neighborhood on Broadway onto Diversey Parkway on the border of Lincoln Park.  There, we finished the tour at KC Chocolatier, 545W Diversey.  Inside, we were introduced to various ways of mixing chocolate and how one happenstance "problem" of a noted Chocolatier (Nestle) turned out to be an epiphany for mixing chocolate.  We were told the differences between Belgian Chocolate and Swiss Chocolate.  It is all in the process of the mixing.  Once again, we were given some samples to try.  I had a lot of fun with the group this day, especially hanging with the ladies of our group!  Where there is chocolate, there is women!  I think Kurt and I caught onto that beforehand...Mmmm! Chicago-late and the whole shebang!

KC Chocolatier

Casbah Cafe in Lake View
3151N Broadway

After the Chocolate Tour, some of walked back up Broadway and had dinner at the "Casbah Cafe" on the corner of Broadway and Briar.  It was such a great night to enjoy company and conversation.  We were there well over 2 hours just talking about life.  One of the women in the group just how much she loves Lake View but admitted it's one of the busiest neighborhoods in Chicago mainly because of the Chicago Cubs.  When asked who my team was Cubs vs. Sox, I said "Cleveland Indians!"  That response threw them off! Ha.  I did admit that I wanted to go see a Cubs' game though.  Also, I've never been to a Mediterranean Restaurant before but the food was delicious.  I tried couscous for the first time.  I also tried lamb for the first time too.  I have to admit though, once I heard the mention of couscous, I thought back to the jet plane chase scene from Hot Shots.  One of the Arab pilot's name was "couscous," lol!  Plus, the name name of the restaurant got me singing Rock the Casbah by The Clash in my head all evening! Ha! Everyone seems to mistake this group for Talking Heads.  Wrong.

Rock the Casbah by The Clash

Casbah Cafe
"After event dinner."


"Atháir d gCull.  Fínn d nAilch."

  • Rodney King beating (1992).
  • Branch Davidian Siege, Waco TX (1993).
  • Oklahoma City Bombing (1995).
  • Columbine (April 20, 1999).
  • Hitler's Birthday (April 20, 1889)
  • King Iluviuks, the Fire King, coronated on his birthday. (April 19.  Whaaa???)

Last month, I mentioned my love for Lord of the Rings, so this month I'll "plug" my own writings and stories, mainly the first one I ever wrote: The Chronicles of Tristan.  On April 19, (V:1500-VI:0), the Fire Era began in the Realm of Arden when King Iluviuks was coronated as King of the "Corner Corridor" in the Kingdom of Cátern.  April 19 is also his birthday.  The Roman numerals represent the Eras of time.  In this case, 1500 years passed in the 5th Era before the 6th Era started.  The story takes place 33 years into the 6th Era (exactly on October 21, VI:33), when the elfin city of Yaivtag is attacked.  The Fire Era ended a very longstanding Utopia in the Realm of Arden under King Tristan and King Shadlier the Scor.  With the birth of this King Iluviuks, the "dark cloak of Mhoír (despair)" fell over the elves in Arden.  Our destiny is fallible. That is the terror of knowing your own mortality. Living in a society such as the Fire Era of King Ilùviuks, it was said, "all life was threatened by the fire of his cloak." All the races of Arden enter into a crucible of fire and the terror of their own existence. This period of time of Arden is a bleeding time, a time so desperate for someone to show the way for immortality and everlasting life. In this crucible of fire, the secrets of the Elemental Point of the Concordant Summit are refined and understood by a single man, a half-elf. While being tested by the terror of his own existence, the secret is found to unlock the boundary of Plíagge, freeing the land. By one man's Dreams and Repentance, does the secret unfold! We do not have to fear the fire of his cloak any longer, he proclaims. We are fallible, but we can live beyond this life! Suddenly, a new fire burns, a burning fire to end the terror of mortality. That is what the Chronicles of Tristan is a story about: The ending of the terror of mortality.  The Elves lost their "gift of immortality" in the Fire Era!  The Free Sea on the Horizon was "cloaked" by this "dark fire of despair."

Long ago, at the creation of Arden, the writer of the Book of the Morning, the creation story of the Realm or Arden, penned down the history of the elves in Arden and the "line of Kings" anointed by the Glory or Shekinya.  Anointed by the Glory, those Kings (and Queens) gave portents regarding the future of Arden and its destiny.   The first notable kings provided warnings to a dark time or a dark cloak which would fall ominously over the elves.  Some regarded this as the End of the World and some attributed the doom with another dark time in Arden's history called the Black Sleep.  The portents spoke of a "dark cloak of fire" spelling utter despair and annihilation with the elves, and warned the elves to watch carefully for this time [literally 'gCallas ám mbeóthair steách,' or eyes like sharp arrows].

At the dawning of the Fire Era (the set up to the story of The Chronicles of Tristan), the writings of the Book of the Morning had been long forgotten through the ages by the elves, especially in the Fire Era due to the "dark cloak falling over Arden" by King Iluviuks..  The only "clan" of elves whom kept the history and record of Arden was a sacred clan in the small city of Conería.  There, the sacred order of Srí (Sun) maintained the Book of the Morning and its history with the line of kings and the anointing of Shekinya.  There, the monks still paid homage and offered up prayer at the great Altar of Concordant Summit, the Altar where Óurias the Purifier (link), the first "Warrior of Srí" saw a pillar of fire and smoke descend upon eras ago when the Black Sleep over Arden was ended (which also was recorded in the Book).  King Iluviuks, knowing that the traditions of the elves remained alive in Conería, banned all knowledge of the Book and declared the reading and learning of the Book to be outlawed in his kingdom.  Punishable by death, the King subverted the truth of his own existence and the role he would soon play as the "dark cloak of fire."  That Book (there was only one Book of the Morning) was later stolen.  The book remained in the Thria (Sun) Temple in Conería for ages upon ages, which sets up the Second Story.  By the end of the First Chronicle, this Book had been relocated to Kema Kot Castle in The Kue Mountains, the golden castle where King Tristan once dwelt.  From the castle, it was stolen and hidden.  This is the Second Book.

Below is the original ancient text, warning those elves in the Sixth Era about the "dark cloak of fire."  It is taken from one of the accounts in the Book of the Morning and quoted in the Chronicles of Tristan.  In this case, "Ilufa/Iluba," the words used for "dark fire" are penned as opposed to the common word used for fire, "peórra."  Most notable is the word "cátern," meaning "remaining."  The Kingdom of Cátern, at the time, was the ONLY remaining elfin kingdom, so the warning below applied to those left and everyone else.  Beginning the Chronicles of Tristan, The Kingdom of Eluira (the last surviving elfin kingdom before Cátern) had fallen with the attack on Yaivtag, the capital city of that kingdom.  The language here has its basis and foundation with Gaeilge (Irish).  The reasons to that are because the "Emerald Isle" used in the mythology of Arden IS actually our Ireland and it "bridges" pre-historic Earth (In the creation "Gap Theory" of Genesis 1:1 and 2) to Ancient Arden.

NOTE: Google "Gap Theory" (ruin-restoration) for more information.  Basically, God first created everything in verse one.  Suddenly in verse two, the earth is formless?  There are a lot of arguments about the "theory."  I believe verse one was an introduction, not to be taken as a chronological measure for verse two.  The bible is plenary truth not literal truth.  I use this "gap" for my writing.  In fact, the End of the World for Arden, foreseen by those anointed by Shekinya in the stories, is indeed Genesis 1:2.

"Á beá ní-fáuthaid odh Nheíthra-hÍlufain, gmeórchaid óig mheágbhíar. Ilubhí roídh an iá lhuíssa eábnoídh. Higgoínágh n’Luth cóa an rí í go ghalíernain láe ha, í-narch ber - melleóchadh hilubhí athlas an reáchas da háulainágh. Cóa bleácain an gcátern, go mbeá dacríemhaith mháiragh á hÍlufa-Óuicg beshíra áal pleáfadh ní odach, stír an mhaira-lóu, uámheáth gcí gceárthnain, uí coímheád dómh belnuír í argíláe sín an hÁshaárain, rí thaóumhnaimhóug a nóg. Sólaim s’áuphuá á aluín gcaláshí óig! Tref-surr óig sra fhennáigh odair man! Tref surr óig sra sháiseálagh odair, í naóg sruóseáchainó suras marg! Beá go huítharaith í ghafhorch - dta, na-fór áal cóa go óisheámh í go óishaómh! Uínloíach óig, mhaórgbhíar croáchaith, ó mhírbhíar áupuáid odashach í mber. Uámheáth a nóg, ha plefícadh gcuállain ní odach an dtír gcí mhoírlogh. Tírn ám staóch, í líemh an rí, o cátern, sra hIósamháin odair go fáelain an hárgílainn steách an sreíg. Áal-go-Hoícs an ngráigh ám hEcsíemh ber - coímheádain odach gcí dtreácach bin-haal s’mhoír da hÍlufa-Óuicg beshír." Rhuína 2:18-19.

The rise and fall of the Line of Kings in Arden.
September 11, 2001 was inspiration for this too.

TRANSLATION: "And when you endure the crucible of fire, do not lose hope. Fire burns and water heals. The banners of water will be risen high, but the fire will fight it and the power of the elves. Beware you remaining, for when you see the shadow and the fire of his cloak fall on you, make haste, flee from your dwelling, take cover under night and fly like the dragon, soaring high. Do not turn back for your tunic. Do not return for your sword, and leave your treasure behind, for if you do, you will be saved and rescued. Do not fret on what you will eat and where you will go. Flee swiftly before destruction falls on you. Pray hard and look high, you remaining, for your salvation comes on swift wings. They will cover you and protect you from the dark cloak of his fire." Rhuína 2:18-19.

Essentially what this entry is saying is "when you see this darkness fall on you, get the EFF out!"  "Don't turn around to look where you left.  Don't take this or that.  Don't fight, don't worry about what to wear.  Don't worry about your belongings.  Just.  Get. the. eff. out. of. dodge!"  This writing was done back in 2002 when I was writing the back-story (Book of the Morning) stuff for my first book.  The back-story stuff really helped fill in a lot of holes.  It was interesting to go back and note the translation I had for this entry: "on you" in that part literally means "IN you."   I was inspired by the warning the LORD gave to the Jews regarding the future untimely appearance of Antichrist, which is the basis for the evil King I wrote about, a vile king much like Hitler.  "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel let the reader understand then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time." NIV (Matthew 24:15-25).  We all have a choice.  The story I wrote explains this.  Having an utter disgust for Hitler, especially having seen "Schindler's List," the purity of soul often needs to tested in a crucible, a crucible of fire.

King Shafhalóa, first King of Cátern, had a vision of the "two towers beyond the Free Sea" and the coming of the deadly Fire Era and the evil King Iluviuks.  He saw the falling of the elfin kingdoms and the cloak of shadow and fire consuming them.  Right there in the very text of this account is the NAME of the Fire King.  The author of the Book of the Morning penned down the original Cáterneásh translation of the prophecy.  King Shafhalóa was the first elfin King of Cátern during Arden's first era.  He was the first king to give insight regarding the fire king.  He also provides insight for a Savior, someone to rescue the elves in their time of danger.  This is where this realm and our world converges!  This began the idea of PLÍAGGE or the Horizon (captial H) being open (the bridge into both realms of existence) between two realms.  This savior is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  Up until this era, this "doorway" had been closed off.  Even in the Book of the Morning, it was recorded that elves often prayed for this Door to be open in the Horizon.  The elfin prayer or chant, 'go toír sín,' is often seen throughout the Line of Kings in the Book of the Morning.  It had never been open in that time; not until the sixth era.

Up until the sixth era, elves "ventured" (lit. seen as "translated" in the Book of the Morning) to the "Land of the Free Sea" (Sha-Ímheáorcain -- [ee-WyEARi-ca'] um, yes, that place is almost pronounced like "America," hint, hint), a waiting place near the Horizon, OR the "Sea of Lutta," a place of penance and judgement.  Due to the "dark cloak" the "Land of the Free Sea" was veiled though, so immortality was lost.  Noted during this time of ungodly fire, another pure fire burned.  It was the Fire of the Forked Tree and the Lord.  These "two fires" setup the Fire Era and the story of the "Chronicles of Tristan."  Right in the Ancient text of the Book of the Morning with this account are the NAMES of two figures:  Iluviuks and Yishav.  Yishav, as seen during the Fire Era with the main character of the story, is the Cáterneásh word for Joshua or Jesus (The LORD saves).  The elves were told to "PRAY HARD" (Tírn ám staóch -- pray steadily) when they saw the "dark cloak of his fire" fall, for their deliverance would be at hand.  There's that word again: Tírnáin, the word I used in my New Year's Resolution!

an dTír Theárs
(Sears Tower)

An dTír Theárs ("DEER thEARis" because of "gaelic" eclipsing in the "T" sound and  lenition in the "S" sound.  There is no "Z" sound in this language; there is a "Z" sound as in "azure" though). I started writing the Chronicles of Tristan back in August 1997.  My creative mind was probably one thing I could take with me for the next 15 years, because I started writing and actually tried getting published a few times.  From the Chronicles of Tristan spawned a couple "backstory" writings, which became the Book of the Morning accounts.  In the Chronicles of Tristan I reference this Book.  Anytime I had to create a backstory for something in the story, I added this to the Book of the Morning collection.  Writing, for now, is just a hobby of mine, just like my Home Business.  Maybe later on in life, I can put them to good use.  Here is an excerpt from my story, The Chronicles of Tristan: A Revelation.

"...Aidain focused deeply on Itheuks.  He spoke as a knife and his eyes gazed into the heart of Itheuks.  “The catalyst of the elves is fire.  The men of the west will stir the catalyst.  Our remedy is water.”  He paused and placed his hands on the reigns of Itheuks’ horse.  “Remember when you see the cloak of his fire fall on you to flee.  Don’t hesitate.  Flee!  The elves have entered a crucible of fire.  Please, allow us to defend you,” the Commander stated.  “Now, please go see your King Shadlier and tell him of the events that have transpired here.”

Itheuks recoiled and rebuked the Commander of his words.  “You speak from the Book which is outlawed and forbidden!  You are quoting text from the Book of the Morning.”  Itheuks knew of the sacred text and the Book, though having never studied it.  He knew that quoting the text was considered an act of treason in the new kingdom, but his heart and mind were at peace.  He paused a moment and gently chided the Commander.  “Please do not speak again from the Book.  My allegiance is to King Shadlier and King Iluviuks.”  He bowed his head towards the Commander.

Itheuks was not offended by the order, and he respected the Warriors of Sri as did most of the east.  Even though the mystery of the Sri confounded Itheuks, he held them with deep honor for their services with the elves in the past.  They were held with adoration by the elves and half-elves in the east and their hometown of Conería was the focus of divinity for the east.  “Commander Aidain, I will give the report but my two generals must go with me.  We will return to Vall where the King awaits us.  The weight of the east is on your shoulders, commander.  You must not allow this city to fall.  Understand!”  Itheuks trusted the Commander, but still wondered about their strange mysticism.  “We will ready the forces in Vall.”

I decided later I wanted to make this book into a trilogy (uncompleted as of now).  Here is an excerpt from the Second Book when Hope is rekindled.

“Through shadow and despair, there the coins remained in stone, so, not even he, the Fire Prince, could totally obtain the Kingdom for himself.  The coins remained embedded imperviously forever, covered under the ashes of the fallen, but not forgotten town of Conería, as symbol of hope, prosperity and restoration of the Remaining.  The vision of Forked Tree has sealed the lands forever by the Greater Light beyond Plíagge.”


That same line of bad weather was seen all week

Graupel this havoc!  The week of April 15 began a long week of thunderous resound from the heavens.  This type of weather was seen all week with the chance for snow on Friday.  Tracy Butler of ABC7 Chicago is very good with her weather forecasts here and she was very accurate with this coming severe weather on Sunday.  Kudos to her. It is nice to sleep to the thunderstorms, but when my phone is buzzing weather alerts at 4am?  Ungh!  We've been bombarded all week with this type of weather.  I also was introduced to the word graupel this week as well.  Due to the severe weather, I canceled my original weekend plans to go visit a couple of friends (Jess and Joe Swenson) in Minnesota, especially after Jes said they had a huge snowfall again...and the whole shaboom, shaboom. Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da, shaboom, shaBOOM!!! Life is but a dream.


Due tomorrow?  Do tomorrow.

Work it!  Trying to keep ahead of the game, sometimes we need to work on the weekend.  The work weeks are getting busier as it were -- more intense, but I'm still finding time on the weekends to get out and do activities (blog, heh) and go on TRY to go on dates!  Having been set back with one project of mine in Denver, I worked one weekend to keep on schedule with other projects.  It helped because, not only did I close the Boulder CO project I was working on, I kept ahead for another one that was open for awhile and a NEW one locally where I'll be going to Rosemont IL for the customer...and the whole shebang!


Wile E. Coyote's Drawing Board

There are many other ways to catch the Roadrunner, so it's time to start another blueprint, even if it takes me running through pipes and shrinking myself down to nothing.  That is a reference to the ONLY time the Coyote "caught" the Roadrunner in Looney Tunes.  Becoming small doesn't mean that literally in the sense for my personality or being; it just means that I need to keep trying, sometimes starting small even.  If it took the Coyote so many ways to catch the Roadrunner, at least he tried, never gave up, even to its extreme.

The Good News?  Ending April, I will have 2 more dates to plan for April/May.  The important thing to bear in mind is that I had fun with the previous date and it wasn't a bust, even if I didn't go out on a second one.  Have fun with all of them, including the new ones!  Annoyed Attitude?  No, an Illinoid Attitude!  And, a lesson learned here from the last one: When a woman offers to pick up the check before the date starts, that's an indication to me that she isn't interested.  I know I'll have letdowns, but they're always hard.  Bouncing back has become a LOT easier these past couple months.  Now, here is what will really ruin your childhood now.  Coyotes actually run faster than Roadrunners!  I just thought I'd strap that to a rocket for ya and launch that anvil at ya  (::wink:: ::wink::).  Another thing I've learned each month with blogging, word-smithing and the importance of punctuation is this:

"Life is not a run-on sentence.  Life is made up of a series of moments.  We need to know what those are in ours.  Without punctuation, we would not know when to stop, wait and be patient when there was a period; pause, pray and reflect for a comma; ask questions, search for answers at a question mark; prioritize our life with a colon; make new friends, meet new people and share moments together with semi-colons; but most of all, stand out and make a difference with an exclamation point!" ~Me, and you can take that to the ATM.

Mom, I love you, but this is dedicated to you for your love of run-on sentences, lol.

Lincoln Park
"Wayne & Wrightwood."

On April 22 (EARTH DAY), I went downtown to Maeve in Lincoln Park to "Meet the Matchmaker."  I was excited for the event.  I parked at Wayne and Wrightwood near 1400W.  Well, I walked into...

"Meet the matchmaker."

... to Meet the Matchmaker, only to learn that at the last minute, the event was cancelled.  It was very frustrating, especially on a weekday with work.  What a let down!  The end of April has been very disappointing.  I was looking forward to this and asking questions.  This whole past week has been disappointing and in the dumps to say the least, and the week is starting off that way now...and the whole shebang!


My Shebang

The last weekend of April, I enjoyed some time at home chillaxin, watching some movies and messing around on the computer.  Last year on this date, I was shutting down all my computer equipment and packing a U-Haul.  So, this year, I will chillax in my shebang!  Friday night, I randomly pulled a bunch of movies out and stacked them by my TV.  Some of the ones I pulled were:

  • Private Eyes (Don Knotts and Tim Conway)
  • Grudge
  • Grudge II
  • Conan the Barbarian (Original)
  • Conan the Destroyer
  • Explorers (River Phoenix' first film)
  • Secret Window
  • The 'burbs
  • The Hobbit
Looking out for Wookalars, suspicious guests at Hill House where communism is only a red herring, creepy death rattling, gurgling sounds in Japan, knowing what's best in life, visiting Thoth Amon, building a starship from a tilt-a-whirl, and finding out Todd Downey likes corn with Morton's salt, living next door to psychotic neighbors, it was a great weekend. It's always good to just kick back and enjoy a quiet weekend by yourself every once and awhile, watching old movies and geeking out on the computer stuffs!  Keeping up with the home/hobby business thing was a plus, making the Linux Server into a full functioning Samba Server.  Now! let's go dancing with stars!!!  It's nice to do some hobbies...and the whole shiiiiikasha, shiiiish-kabob, Shawshank Redemption, Chiiiiccccaaaaggggooo!

My Sharona!

Let's do the Samba!  I started integrating my Samba Sever into ADS, but haven't fully gotten authentication to work for ADS.  FTP still is using PAM for the time being until I can figure out why any Windows Client cannot browse to the Samba Server with a DOMAIN account.  The account in which seems to work is the 'sysadmin' admin account; this was the account I used to "net ads join" the Samba Server.  Here is my DUZIT so far.  So, FTP and regular local authentication works for the time being.

Promote Linux Server to full functioning Samba Server and Domain Member Server
DUZIT (PX9130426-2038-EC01F) Linux Samba to Member Server.

yum install openldap

1. Run authconfig command on NOMAD
2. Modify /etc/samba/smb.conf, global settings
3. Update PAM config
    Ensure PAM accepts local accounts
4. Join NOMAD (Samba Server) to PROXIMA domain
    "net ads join" command
5. Update Kerberos 5 config
    Ensure Kerberos can look up uid/gid in PROXIMA.LOCAL realm
    Check KDC with host command
7. Update IPTABLES



authconfig \
--disablecache \
--enablewinbind \
--enablewinbindauth \
--smbsecurity=ads \
--smbworkgroup=PROXIMA \
--smbrealm=PROXIMA.LOCAL \
--enablewinbindusedefaultdomain \
--winbindtemplatehomedir=/home/PROXIMA/%U \
--winbindtemplateshell=/bin/false \
--enablekrb5 \
--krb5realm=PROXIMA.LOCAL \
--enablekrb5kdcdns \
--enablekrb5realmdns \
--enablelocauthorize \
--enablemkhomedir \
--enablepamaccess \


Add these lines to [global]

    idmap config PROXIMA:backend = rid
        idmap config PROXIMA:base_rid = 500
        idmap config PROXIMA:range = 500-1000000

Comment out these lines in [global]

    #  idmap uid = 16777216-33554431
    #  idmap gid = 16777216-33554431

workgroup = PROXIMA
   realm = PROXIMA.LOCAL
   security = ads
    netbios name = NOMAD
    idmap config PROXIMA:backend = rid
    idmap config PROXIMA:base_rid = 500
    idmap config PROXIMA:range = 16777216-33554431
    template homedir = /home/PROXIMA/%U
    template shell = /sbin/nologin
   winbind use default domain = true
   winbind offline logon = false
   winbind cache time = 10

winbind use default domain = yes
winbind enum users = yes
winbind enum groups = yes
obey pam restrictions = yes

        comment = Home Directories
        browseable = yes
        writable = yes
        valid users = %S
        valid users = PROXIMA\%S

        comment = FTP Directories
        path = /home
        browseable = yes
        public = yes
        inherit acls = yes
        inherit permissions = yes
        create mask = 700
        directory mask = 700
        valid users = PROXIMA+echatham PROXIMA\echatham @echatham, @sysadmin, @root

        comment = Shekinya Website
        path = /var/www/html/shekinya
        writable = yes
        browseable = yes
        public = yes
        valid users = PROXIMA\sysadmin @echatham, @sysadmin, @root

[root@nomad home]# net ads join -U sysadmin
sysadmin's password:
Using short domain name -- PROXIMA
DNS update failed! # DNS entry manually created beforehand!
Joined 'NOMAD' to realm 'PROXIMA.LOCAL'
[root@nomad home]# service smb restart

[root@nomad home]# /etc/rc.d/init.d/messagebus restart
Stopping system message bus:                               [  OK  ]
Starting system message bus:                               [  OK  ]
[root@nomad home]# chkconfig smb on
[root@nomad home]# chkconfig  winbind on
[root@nomad home]# chkconfig  oddjobd on


 default_realm = PROXIMA.LOCAL
 dns_lookup_realm = true
 dns_lookup_kdc = true
 # ticket_lifetime = 24h
 ticket_lifetime = 600
 forwardable = yes
 default_tkt_enctypes = des3-hmac-sha1 des-cbc-crc
 default_tgs_enctypes = des3-hmac-sha1 des-cbc-crc

  kdc =
  admin_server =
  default_domain =

  kdc = filer.proxima.local
  kdc = COMPILER.proxima.local
  default_domain = PROXIMA

 proxima.local = PROXIMA.LOCAL
 .proxima.local = PROXIMA.LOCAL

[root@nomad ~]# host -t any _kerberos._tcp.proxima.local
_kerberos._tcp.proxima.local has SRV record 0 100 88 compiler.proxima.local.
_kerberos._tcp.proxima.local has SRV record 0 100 88 filer.proxima.local.


passwd:     files winbind
shadow:     files winbind
group:      files winbind

passwd:     compat winbind 
shadow:     compat 
group:      compat winbind


[root@nomad ~]# net ads info
LDAP server:
LDAP server name: filer.proxima.local
Bind Path: dc=PROXIMA,dc=LOCAL
LDAP port: 389
Server time: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 23:15:43 CDT
KDC server:
Server time offset: -12


[root@nomad ~]# kinit dummy@PROXIMA.LOCAL
Password for dummy@PROXIMA.LOCAL:
[root@nomad ~]# klist
Ticket cache: FILE:/tmp/krb5cc_0
Default principal: dummy@PROXIMA.LOCAL

Valid starting     Expires            Service principal
04/26/13 23:17:27  04/26/13 23:27:27  krbtgt/PROXIMA.LOCAL@PROXIMA.LOCAL

Kerberos 4 ticket cache: /tmp/tkt0
klist: You have no tickets cached

By next month, I hope to have this fully functioning.


Kernel Panic!

SIP 408, "Request Timeout!"

"Your call cannot be completed as dialed."  

1. Some of you have my new phone number; some of you don't.  Last year, moving here, I had it changed for business reasons; this time around it's for personal reasons!  Weeding through contacts and shutting down Facebook this month has really helped me refocus on my life, goals, and WORK even!

2. Other network services I have been giving out for free will be dealt with swiftly.  Any service rendered to an individual for free, I will start charging a fee to use the service (FTP, a mailbox, SMTP, website, etc) from me effective April 29, 2013!  We can discuss on a business level what you would like to do for a business relationship.  I have started cleaning up user accounts and disabling idle ones.  Anyone that doesn't claim their user account/data or discuss business options by the end of May, the data will be instantly "Idaked," that is instantly wiped out completely, never to return.  Any user that remains in the "5th Column" OU is exempt from said fees and Idak!

3. My e-mail address is still public; if you have it, good; if not, too bad.  I will be leasing a new domain soon, and after a new Exchange environment is in place, I will be changing the recipient domain.  It will no longer be *  The "5th Column" business group of Systems Aboot has been advised about business proceedings.  This involved offered services, nature of the home business and a list of autarchic, complimentary services.

4. Freeloaders will no longer be tolerated!  Anyone that runs a business doesn't give stuff away for free, so I shouldn't either! If you want a mailbox, FTP site, SMTP service, website, etc, a fee (even if cheap) will be rendered.

"Uh oh, here comes the putter throw.  He's restrained himself.  Mabye this is a new Happy Gilmore." 


How do I compose each blog?  When I compose a blog, I first come up with a theme for the month and start a template.  Basically the template begins with a bunch of "<" and ">."   I have found that tweaking HTML coding is a plus when composing these, because it gets rather messy at times, and those symbols help make spaces for each section in the blog.  They help mark areas if I go to the HTML view.  I update the blog on the weekends mainly for the past week.  Here is an example of what "blogger" looks like the last week of April.  I have a few sections that I keep for each blog, like a "birthday/anniversary" section, a "noteworthy of worthy notes" section, and "in the news" section.  The "heading" is usually written last, and everything else in between progresses weekly.

  • Heading
  • Body (usually chronological)
  • Noteworthy of worthy notes
  • In other News
  • Anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Footer

A work in progress.  May's template.


What do both of these objects have in common?

They both take cash deposits and they both dispense cash!
You can bet if the latter is out of money, the former has some.

This is my joke for the month.  Over discussion one day with someone about work, I related an ATM to a sofa.  Kudos if you understand it.



Keeping the "mood" of this month, April 3, VI:39, Daulky Kinkayle is tried before King Iluviuks and the House of Siew, and executed.  The final words uttered by him were these (The Chronicles of Tristan.  This is part of the Last Chapter in the story):

"...And, lo, that axe was aimed right for his throat. Having been tortured to renounce his faith, Daulky remained pure and strong. Now his life was at an end; just before that axe came squarely down on his neck on the day of his Purification by Fire, he shouted out the name which finally unlocked the Doorway in the Horizon, and that at His Name, all would now bow and pay reverence.

"Yyyiiissshhhaaavvv!" He shouted passionately. Uttering loudly the last words of his God in ancient Cáterneásh, he spoke fervently.  This was the forgotten language, the language of the Book of the Morning, the forbidden book. "Ní-sra augmoách Beshí, 'An Para ám fhairragh rá Óair, ghahíra Ói óda, í na' Óam hIóshamháin iássó gó gcoíseáimh Ói ódh.'  Ói stoárr óda, á nhu gcóa an Para ám fhairragháin rá d'Aómh, nhu gcóa Óam hIóshamháin áal gó ghathirnáin." In English, those words spoken were: "In this for speaks He, '[In] as (the) Time like grant(ed) favor My, heard I you, and [in] (of the) Day Salvation [lit. "Day Saving"] uphold rescued I you.' I tell you, (and) now be as (the) Time like granting favor of God, now be (the) Day Salvation as it (has) towered." [Which means: 'For he says, 'In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." II Corinthian 6:2. "...As it towered" was usually spoken by prophets emphasizing "look out" something is about to come to pass or something is coming to pass.]

As quickly as the executioner brought that ax down upon him, his words came out clearly to all. His words were as a knife and they pierced through everyone's hearts there. The crowds were quieted by his heartfelt cry with some of the people there brought to tears by his very words, the words he spoke and the God he died for. The axe had come down on his neck and ended his life, and rolling down the side of the lush and green hill was a lamp to this realm, his head.  It would serve as a lamp to those yet remaining. Amidst the darkness and gloom of the town, it was the only sign of hope in this ill fated realm, a head, a lamp. The vile King looked aimlessly on towards the crowd. "Let this Third day of April serve as a reminder to you all," he entreated.  "Treason is punishable by death and fire and, from this day forth, I will pursue any enemy of Arden whom speak this forbidden name again.  Let it be known and written.  There are no gods, none else before the line of Kings in this realm. We hold its reckoning." His words had suffocated the fresh air and choked the fresh spring wind; the hearts of the hopeful faltered.

The crowds murmured and Itheuks pondered deeply upon his friend's dying words and the committed soul he had, remembering the only words he was given during his campaign at Yaivtag so many years ago, when the Warrior of Srí warned him of this dark day. 'When you see the fire of his cloak fall...flee...for your salvation will come on swift wings.' A new fervor built in Itheuks, a new fire.  The Saving Day was now. He looked onto the Horizon with tears, knowing that the Doorway therein had finally been unlocked after all these ages. The setting sun was on the horizon and the magnificent beams caught on his face. They fell upon him like a winding and endless path to beyond. "Gó toír sín. Hope is yet a candle. There is a new tower to climb and a new tower with a resolve to behold its splendor, this realm of Arden.  Blessed be that day when hope becomes a fiery beacon in the night!"

Karah stood closely to her husband with tears, remembering her brother fondly and his mission. "He will be always remembered.  The Book of the Morning spoke true of him. This is not an end, but a beginning!"

Daulky's wife, Elvienya, was nearby them and quietly approached the two under cover.  She gave them Covad's artifacts and belongings, and quietly disappeared into the mystery of time. She was not seen again after this day.  It was rumored she fled to Eluira and died there of a broken heart..."
Gó toír sín

New. Year. Resolution. In. Bold. My story inspired the resolution. Maybe I should be going back to my hobby of writing too.


First Contact on April 5, 2063


 Margaret Thatcher
October 13, 1925 - April 8, 2013

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the "Iron Lady" was laid to rest Wednesday in London. She died April 8 at age 87. She was alternately cheered and jeered during Wednesday's procession.  She will be remembered for her uncompromising politics and leadership style.  She will be remembered but not forgotten!

Roger Ebert
June 18, 1942 - April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert had a lifelong affair with the movies, and even as he struggled with cancer, he found solace in the cinema. The famed movie critic died Thursday at the age of 70.  His death came two days after Ebert announced on his blog that he was undergoing radiation treatment after a recurrence of cancer.


Boston Marathon

April 15, Boston witnessed a bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Two bombs exploded at the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people and injuring more than 140 others. Bomb squads were sweeping the area, checking suspicious packages and testing for chemicals to help determine what kind of device was used.


William Hung's 5 minutes of fame on American Idol
January 15, 2004

Thank you for reading once again this month...tuna noodles!

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My Life starts at the Chicago Water Tower!
Mark 0, 0, 0, 0. The last 0 is for the time parameter
Keeping a train of thought and keeping on track.